Since 1970, the Man of the Year award was given to players who went over and beyond in outstanding community service on and off the field, and still perform with extreme excellence on the field. It was renamed after the Chicago Bears greatest running back of all-time in 1999.
Not every college athlete gets the honor and privilege to hear their name called on Draft Day. But a young man from Macon County Georgia did on April 26th, 2018. He was picked by the Chicago Bears to be the next linebacker to soar like the franchise Hall of Fame greats in Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, and Brian Urlacher.
With the 8th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bears selected Roquan Smith from the University of Georgia. The cheers from fans everywhere were deafening and the dream of the return of the Monsters of the Midway was just within their reach.
All the questions and panic are over. The Chicago Bears made it very clear last night that the rise of the Monsters of the Midway starts with inside linebacker Roquan Smith. As the eighth overall pick in the first round, Smith brings an incredible burst off the seam that reminds me of one of the great Bears linebackers Mike Singletary. A little undersized for a linebacker, but his quickness and speed make up for it. It’s a perfect fit for the Bears.
Smith is fluid and explosive in space which makes him perfect in the Jack position as an inside linebacker. He was praised by Georgia head coach Kirby Smart as being a “tremendous leader”, which is what Singletary became on the Bears defense. Under the veteran leadership of Akiem Hicks, he will gain the respect and pride of his fellow teammates.
Etched on the side of a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota is a monument with the faces of four of our country’s most prolific presidents. Hundreds of thousands of visitors have seen this remarkable memorial, a testament to those who have taken part in building this country.
But in the city of Chicago, they finally have their own monument of middle linebackers that will be forever embodied in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Chicago Bears have 27 players enshrined in the PFHOF and on August 3, 2018, the 28th member will be inducted; middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.
But in order to understand and embrace the romance and charisma these impact players made for Chicago, it would only be fitting to introduce the Mount Rushmore of Bears middle linebackers.