February 18th, 2010
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. – After selecting the Bears’ All-Decade Offense Wednesday, we’ll focus on the defense and special teams a day later.
The defense is led by three current players who have been voted to a combined 14 Pro Bowls in middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (6), weakside linebacker Lance Briggs (5) and tackle Tommie Harris (3).
On special teams, dynamic return specialist Devin Hester and kicker Robbie Gould both carved their names into the NFL record book over the past decade.
Alex Brown (2002-present)
Productive and durable, Brown has helped anchor the Bears defensive line since he arrived in 2002 as a fourth-round draft pick. He ranks fourth in franchise history and tops among active Bears with 43½ sacks, and leads the team with 127 consecutive games played dating back to the second week of his rookie season.
Adewale Ogunleye (2004-present)
Since being acquired in a trade with the Miami Dolphins, Ogunleye has led the Bears in sacks three times in six seasons—with 10 in 2005, 9 in 2007 and 6½ in 2009. With 42 sacks, he’s tied with Trace Armstrong for fifth in team history. In 2009, Ogunleye was one of six NFL players to record at least three sacks and three fumble recoveries.
Tommie Harris (2004-present)
Harris became the first Bears defensive tackle ever to be selected to three straight Pro Bowls in 2005-07 and the first defensive lineman since Doug Atkins went to seven in a row from 1958-1964. This past season, Harris recorded a career-high 10 tackles-for-loss and registered his first NFL interception.
Ted Washington (2001-02)
A mammoth run stuffer, Washington anchored the Bears defensive line early in the decade. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2001 when he helped Chicago compile a 13-3 record and win the NFC Central by playing on a run defense that ranked second in the NFL, allowing an average of only 82.1 yards per game.
Brian Urlacher (2000-present)
The face of the franchise since he arrived as a first-round draft pick in 2000, Urlacher has been voted to six Pro Bowls in 10 memorable seasons with the Bears. Blessed with a rare combination of size and speed, Urlacher registered at least 100 tackles in each of his first nine seasons (before missing most of the 2009 campaign with an injury) and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.
Lance Briggs (2003-present)
Perhaps overshadowed by Urlacher, Briggs is just the fourth linebacker in Bears history to be selected to five straight Pro Bowls, joining Hall of Famers Bill George, Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary. Since arriving in 2003 as a third-round draft pick, Briggs has registered 1,006 tackles, the fourth most by a Bears player since 1971 behind Singletary (1,487), Urlacher (1,410) and Gary Fencik (1,102).
Rosevelt Colvin (2000-02)
A strongside linebacker who doubled as a rush end in passing situations, Colvin registered 10½ sacks in both 2001 and 2002, becoming the first Bears player to reach double digits in back-to-back seasons since Richard Dent in 1990-91.
Charles Tillman (2003-present)
Known for his ability to strip the ball, Tillman has forced 21 fumbles in seven seasons, the most by an NFL defensive back during that span. His 22 career interceptions are the most among active Bears and are tied for 10th in franchise history. In 2009, Tillman forced a career-high six fumbles and scored his fourth defensive touchdown on a 21-yard interception return against the Browns.
Nathan Vasher (2004-present)
Vasher became the first Bears player to record at least 16 interceptions in his first three seasons since Charlie Sumner in the 1950s. In 2005, Vasher picked off eight passes—the third highest total in team history—and became the first Bears cornerback voted to the Pro Bowl since Donnell Woolford in 1994.
Mike Brown (2000-08)
Brown was one of the most productive and clutch defensive backs in Bears history before his career was derailed by injuries. The all-time franchise leader with seven career defensive touchdowns, Brown was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2005. He probably also deserved to go in 2001 when he returned interceptions for TDs in overtime in back-to-back games to beat the 49ers and Browns.
Tony Parrish (2000-01)
An intimidating hitter and physical presence who narrowly edges out Mike Green for the second safety spot, Parrish registered 181 tackles with two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, three sacks and six interceptions in his final two seasons with the Bears in 2000-01.
Devin Hester (2006-present)
Hester took the league by storm in 2006, setting an NFL record as a rookie with five kick return touchdowns—and that total did not include a 108-yard return TD of a missed field against the Giants or his 92-yard return TD on the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI. Hester then eclipsed his own mark with six kick return TDs in 2007, when he was voted to the Pro Bowl for the second straight season.
Robbie Gould (2005-present)
Signed as a free agent midway through the 2005 season, Gould has become the most accurate kicker in NFL history—counting regular-season and playoffs—having connected on 86.4 percent of his field goal attempts (140 of 162). He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006 after finishing second in the NFL in scoring with 143 points and making 32 of 36 field goal tries (88.9 percent).
Brad Maynard (2001-present)
One of the NFL’s most proficient directional punters, Maynard has placed 261 punts inside-the-20 since he joined the Bears in 2001, the most in the league during that span. A versatile athlete, he has also thrown TD passes of 27 yards to Urlacher and 12 yards to Dustin Lyman as the holder on fake field goals.