brian urlacher getty Brian Urlacher opens up about his mother's deathEarlier this year, Brian Urlacher, a linebacker for the Chicago Bears, had to leave the team due to the unexpected passing of his mother, Lavoyda Lenard, 51, on Sept. 12. He opens up about her death to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.

Urlache tells Nichols that the outpouring of support from around the National Football League was stunning.

“I think that speaks to what kind of person she was and how boisterous
and outgoing she was. The support we received was
unreal,” says Urlacher. “Guys who I had met before but I didn’t have their phone numbers
were texting me, calling me. I got some actual hand-written letters from
some players. I couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote a letter, to
just sit down and write on a card to another player … and some of the
guys were in our division so that was really cool. I didn’t realize it would have this big of an effect, but it was really cool to see that kind of support.”

Urlacher also says that what he misses most is just getting texts from his mom and that they can’t bring themselves to cancel her cell phone yet.

“She would always text me the night before games. That’s what I miss … she used to text me all the time. That’s been
the hardest thing to deal with so far,” says Urlacher. “We still have her voice mail set up on her phone. We
haven’t canceled her phone yet so if we want to call and listen to her
voice we can do that.”

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."