LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Brian Urlacher wasn't backing down. Chicago's star linebacker would still lie to cover up a concussion.
Urlacher raised a few more eyebrows on Thursday when he reiterated what he told HBO earlier in the year, and it didn't seem to matter to him that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is recovering from that same injury.
His stance remains the same.
"Yeah," he said when asked if he would lie to cover up a concussion.
Coach Lovie Smith wasn't quite sure how to respond to a question about Urlacher's comment.
"I don't think players will cover up an injury, so that's what I make of it," Smith said. "I didn't hear Brian say that, so I don't know exactly what you're talking about. I just know when Brian has been injured, when he hurt his knee he came out, and every other injury I assume he's had he's come out. That's what I'm going with."
Urlacher acknowledged it would be tough to cover up a concussion while questioning whether newer helmets really were cutting down on such injuries, and he added that the NFL needs to do a better job protecting players from knee injuries.
He said there are points in most games where a player is woozy from a hit, where "you're like, whoa, that was a good one."
But, he also said: "I don't know how you can lie these days with all the (stuff) they have to see who's concussed and who's not. I don't know how they can tell in the first place. I think the helmets aren't very good. I wear an old helmet and Lance (Briggs) wears an old helmet. We don't get concussed. We have some pretty good collisions, we don't get concussed. I think a lot of it has to do with the helmets. They're saying they're better but they must not be because people are getting more concussions now."
Urlacher said he suffered a concussion against Denver in 2003 but didn't miss any games that season.
"I've been lucky," he said.
Cutler wasn't so fortunate on Sunday. The Bears believe he suffered his concussion when Houston's Tim Dobbins nailed him with a helmet-to-helmet hit late in the first half that forced him to sit out the final two quarters of a loss to the Texans. His status for Monday's game against San Francisco is in question, and if he's not available, Jason Campbell figures to start in his place.
That could leave both teams without their starting quarterbacks, because the 49ers' Alex Smith is also recovering from a concussion he suffered last week.
Head injuries and the long-term effects are a hot-button issue in sports, particularly in the NFL. The league has cracked down on flagrant hits in recent years and toughened its guidelines for treating players with concussion symptoms. Cutler and Smith need to be cleared to return by their team physicians and independent neurological consultants.