Top 10 Bears since 2000

10. Roberto Garza
Roberto Garza was a dominant interior lineman for the Bears between 2006 and 2014. The one-two combo of Roberto Garza and Olin Kreutz was one of if not the best interior linemen in the NFL. Garza only missed 6 games after his first season with the Bears and started every single game he played. Reliability like that in the trenches is precisely what any team needs and Garza was right up there with the best of them.

9. Akiem Hicks
Akiem Hicks may be the most beloved Bear since Devin Hester. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any Bears fan, or any fan, make a negative comment about the former Bears defensive tackle. Akiem Hicks provided the Bears with 31 sacks, 5 FF, 5 FR, and 51 TFL over 6 years. Despite struggling with injuries his final couple of years in Chicago, Akiem Hicks never failed to make his presence felt, even if it came from his sideline commentary.

8. Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall has a very strong argument for being the best Bears WR of all time despite the fact that he only played 3 years in the windy city. In that short span of time, Brandon Marshall tallied 279 receptions for 3,524 yards and 31 touchdowns. These numbers led Marshall to 2 pro bowls and a first-team all-pro. The receiver out of UCF led the Bears to become a top offense in the NFL in 2013, one of the best the Bears have ever had.

7. Robbie Gould

Robbie Gould’s positive impact on the Bears is only increased once you look at how bad the Bears’ kicking became in the years after the Bears let him go. Gould was one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL, kicking 86% on field goals and 99% on extra points. Gould’s field goal percentage was at least 83.3% in 8 consecutive seasons, if that’s not dependable I don’t know what is.

6. Julius Peppers
Julius Peppers is another player with a short yet extremely impactful stint with the Bears. Peppers never missed a game in Chicago and was their best defensive lineman year after year. Peppers put up 37.5 sacks, 10 FF, 7 FR, and 47 TFL. Julius Peppers made the Bears’ pass rush deadly by himself and drew enough attention to make everyone else’s job easier.

5. Matt Forte
The Bears have a long line of legendary running backs, and Matt Forte is the most recent addition to that line. Forte ran for over 1000 yards six times with the Bears, totaling 8,602 rushing yards, 4,116 receiving yards, and 64 combined touchdowns. Matt Forte’s most memorable run is certainly when he juked two Buccaneer defenders so bad that they ended up tackling each other. Matt Forte is still constantly reminisced over among the Bears fanbase.

4. Lance Briggs
I just mentioned how the Bears have a long list of legendary running backs, but their list of legendary linebackers is even longer. Lance Briggs deserves to be near the top of that list but oftentimes he doesn’t get the respect he deserves due to playing alongside another linebacker who’s a little higher on this list. Lance Briggs put up 1,181 tackles, 97 TFL, 15 sacks, 16 FF, 7 FR, 16 int, and 6 touchdowns in his 12 year tenure with the Bears. There’s no denying that this man is a legend and deserves more respect as an all time great linebacker.

3. Devin Hester

Devin “Anytime” Hester was the most electrifying player in the NFL in his prime. There has never been another player that could consistently win his team games based entirely off of his return skills. Devin Hester took back an NFL record 19 punts/kicks for touchdowns while kickers would actively avoid kicking to him. Devin Hester is the only player to return the opening kick in the Super Bowl for a touchdown. He was a 3 time pro bowler with the Bears and a 3 time all-pro. While Hester was also a fairly important piece of the Bears receiving core during the middle years of his career, his returns alone are what get him to this top 3 spot.

2. Charles Tillman
Chales Tillman was the centerpiece of the Bears secondary for many years. His iconic nickname “peanut” is now used whenever a player punches the ball out of someone’s arms to force a fumble. Tillman forced a staggering 42 forced fumbles, most of which come from his “peanut punch”. To go along with the fumbles, Tillman also snagged 36 interceptions with the Bears and returned 8 of them for touchdowns. Charles Tillman has certainly etched his name into Bears history to go along with so many other fantastic defenders.

Honorable Mentions
Khalil Mack, Kyle Long, Olin Kruetz, Tommie Harris, Tim Jennings, and Kyle Fuller.

1. Brian Urlacher
I think just about everybody could see this coming, but the best Bear in the 21st century has certainly been Brian Urlacher. From his coverage skills to his pass rushing to his tackling to his leadership, Brian Urlacher was the ideal linebacker. Urlacher was the head of the 2006 Bears NFC championship defense (and Devin Hester) that carried the Bears offense to the Super Bowl. Urlacher’s resume is one of the most impressive resumes a Bear has ever produced. He’s a defensive rookie of the year, defensive player of the year, 8 time pro bowler, 4 time first team all-pro, and now Hall of Famer. Urlacher produced 1,361 tackles, 138 TFL, 41.5 sacks, 11 FF, 16 FR, 22 interceptions, and 4 touchdowns. Urlacher is right up there with Mike Singletary and Dick Butkus as the greatest Bears linebackers and has a real argument and being first.
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