Bears superstar linebacker Brian Urlacher departed the team to be with his family Tuesday after his mother, Lavoyda Lenard, died at her home outside of Mount Pleasant, Texas.
“My mother, Lavoyda, unexpectedly passed away Monday at her home in Texas,” Urlacher said in a statement. “My first priority right now is to be with my family as we mourn her loss and make the arrangements to lay her to rest. This is a very difficult and emotional time for us and I sincerely ask that you respect our privacy. Thank you.”
Lenard was 51.
“Our thoughts and prayers going out to Brian and his family” a tweet stated by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Urlacher’s status for Sunday’s game in the Big Easy against the 0-1 Saints is undecided.
“That’s going to be tough for our football team (if Urlacher doesn’t play Sunday), but we’re understanding,” Bears receiver Roy Williams said. “Whoever takes his spot (if necessary) will play well.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. He is the emotional leader of the football team, so we have his back.”
Defensive end Israel Idonije added support.
“Our hearts are with him,” Idonije said. “It’s one of those times that you can’t imagine, and 100 percent of our support is with him.
“At the end of the day, family and life comes first.”
Cutler said Wednesday that it would be impossible to replace Urlacher if the linebacker is unable to play Sunday.
The Monsters of the Midway are a combined 7-16 in contests minus the bruising ‘backer, including the 2009 opening-night defeat in Green Bay when Urlacher broke his wrist and missed the second half.
The Bears were winless (0-7) in 2004 when Urlacher was forced out of action on three occasions with leg setbacks.
“You can’t replace a guy like him,” Cutler said. “He’s the heart and soul of this team.”