People never really have gotten a grasp on the Aaron Rodgers Brian Urlacher relationship. Mostly because the two superstars were and still are prone to keeping their personal feelings close to the vest. Eventually people assumed the two were classic rivals. They hated each other and would do everything in their power to make the other look bad on Sundays.

Of course that oversimplifying the reality. Sure the two wanted to win desperately when they squared off. That’s just the nature of the sport. However, fans never understood the level of respect that developed between the two. How high does it go? Urlacher retired in 2013. Four years later here in 2017, Rodgers still views him as the best defender he’s ever played across from.

A fact he revealed during an interview with veteran sports personality Dan Patrick on his radio show.

Aaron Rodgers Brian Urlacher are all about the R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It’s hard to argue with that. In the five seasons they played against each other from 2008 to 2012, Rodgers managed to top 300 yards passing just once in 10 games. In the eight games since Urlacher retired he’s managed to do it four times. That is a stat befitting the void the future Hall of Fame linebacker left behind. A void the Bears still haven’t been able to fill half a decade later.

Meanwhile Rodgers is no doubt happy he’s gone. No player in the division or even the rest of the NFC has approached that level of mastery at reading what’s going to happen save for his the frequent matchups with Seattle. It’s proof positive that being physically gifted is one thing, but the best in the NFL are often the smartest. A trait that Urlacher never got nearly enough credit for.