The Pro Football Hall of Fame is among the most prestigious in all of sports. It’s also one of the most notoriously difficult to get into. One could make a small Hall of Fame of great players who still haven’t gotten in after years of close call. Chicago Bears fans are fearful that this same reality could befall their latest hero in Brian Urlacher.

The former middle linebacker patrolled Soldier Field for 12 years in Chicago, putting together an impressive portfolio of stats, accomplishments and highlights. He went to eight Pro Bowls and won Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. He was part of over 1,300 tackles, sacked the quarterback 43.5 times and intercepted 24 passes.

The Bears made the playoffs four times during his reign and featured a top 10 defense five times. He also led them to a Super Bowl appearance in 2006. The man was a superstar and one of the most humble, hard-working competitors on the planet. Yet even now people worry if the often flawed voting process might leave him out come 2018.

Peter King offers his prediction on Brian Urlacher making it

It was announced recently that Urlacher was among the 27 semifinalists eligible to reach Canton this coming year. Early indications are it’s a loaded group with some big names. Chief among them are fellow linebacker Ray Lewis and mercurial but gifted wide receiver Randy Moss. Lewis feels like a lock to most and it will be difficult to keep out Moss.

That leaves just three slots up for grabs among 25 hopefuls. That’s not a big margin for error. Also with Lewis being involved would voters not want to put in two middle linebackers the same year? Peter King of the MMQB has been a Hall of Fame voter for some years and will be for the 2018 class.

He examined the candidates and offered his take on the most likely men to make it.

Does Urlacher qualify?

“My guess at the Class of 2018:

1. Ray Lewis. No debate.

2. Randy Moss. The only knock will be his occasional lack of effort, and it absolutely should be a knock to be questioned. I don’t think it’ll be enough to keep him out.

3. Tony Boselli. Terrell Davis: 78 games. Boselli: 91. One Boselli game that I covered is burned on my brain: Week 2, 1998, Derrick Thomas coming off a six-sack mauling of the Seahawks in Week 1. I covered it for SI, only to see this matchup of one of the game’s two best pass-rushers (along with Bruce Smith) versus the guy I thought was the best left tackle in the game, Boselli, head-to-head. Thomas never touched Jags quarterback Mark Brunell all day. He made one solo tackle–on the other side of the field from left tackle Boselli. Boselli’s got my vote.

4. Brian Urlacher. Brain center and game-dictator for Chicago.

5. Flippa Coin. I truly can’t predict. (ty) Law wouldn’t surprise me. (Brian) Dawkins and (Ronde) Barber are worthy.”

There it is. King seems confident that Urlacher will become the ninth Chicago Bear in history to reach the Hall of Fame on his first try. That list includes:

  • George Halas
  • Bronko Nagurski
  • Red Grange
  • Gale Sayers
  • Dick Butkus
  • George Blanda
  • Walter Payton
  • Mike Singletary

It would be incredibly poetic because Urlacher was drafted ninth overall by the Bears in 2000. Here’s hoping the prediction rings true.