CHICAGO (AP) -- The scariest thing about Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher isn't his speed. Or his vicious hits that can be heard way up in the stands. Or how he comes out of nowhere to lay a quarterback flat on his back.
The scariest thing is that he's only going to get better.
"He's playing on emotions right now, a love for the game ... he's just playing on that instinct," Bears defensive end Bryan Robinson said. "And he has great instincts. Just imagine once he gets the true technique and the true factors of playing football, he's going to be a good one."
Urlacher is already pretty good. He picked up The Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year award Sunday, easily winning it with 27 1/2 votes from the nationwide panel of 50 media members.
New Orleans end Darren Howard was second with 15 1/2 votes, and Philadelphia Eagles tackle Corey Simon was third with six. Cleveland Browns end Courtney Brown, the No. 1 pick, got the other vote.
Though he's a first alternate to the Pro Bowl, Urlacher was stunned when told of the honor. He figured Howard or Simon had rookie of the year locked up. Howard led all rookies with 11 sacks, and Simon was second with 9 1/2.
Plus, the Saints and Eagles made the playoffs, while the Bears (5-11) are settled into their couches, remote controls in hand, with nothing to do but watch TV.
"It's amazing. I'm so happy," Urlacher said. "I was pretty sure I wouldn't get it just because we didn't have a very good record. I guess not. I guess I played well enough."
That's one way to put it. Urlacher didn't even start the first two games, yet still led the Bears with 125 tackles and eight sacks. He also had two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
He was one of the few bright spots in a dismal season for the underachieving Bears.
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