The Bears and Vikings meet Sunday for the second time in three weeks, and you can be sure that Jared Allen’s season-ending block on Chicago guard Lance Louis might be on some players’ minds. Allen hit Lewis high while Antoine Winfield of the Vikings was returning an interception, and Lewis suffered a torn knee ligament when his left leg got caught in the grass. No penalty was called, but Allen was fined $21,000.
“I think I’ve talked on it a few times,” said Bears quarterback Jay Cutler during a conference call with Twin Cities reporters today. “It was unfortunate that Lance tore his ACL, I don’t think Jared is that type of player, I don’t think he was out intentionally to hurt anyone. I wish he would have hit him a little lower, but it happened.”
Allen had a conference call with Chicago media and said: "There is nothing to retaliate. It wasn't malicious. It wasn't done out of ill will. We had an interception. A guy was running towards our guy to make a tackle and I threw a block. Again, like I said, my condolences are to him. The intent is never to hurt anybody. You never want to hurt anybody. Unfortunately, that's part of our game and it happened. But you don't go into a game wandering what if."
The Bears, meanwhile, will also play Sunday without All-Pro middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring).
“You know what you are going to get out of Brian,” said Cutler. “Everything kind of runs through him [on defense], he gets them lined up, he makes the checks, and it’s a tough loss. But that defense has been together for a long time and they have some guys that know it just as well as Brian does, so they’ve got to step up for us.”
Bears coach Lovie Smith, whose team is tied for first in the NFC North with Green Bay at 8-4, thinks the real season begins now.
“Before the fourth quarter of the season, you just get in position,” Smith said. “You don’t want to be out of it, and what you do this last quarter of the season is going to dictate everything. There’s been disappointment, there’s been highs before, it’s just about what you do from here on out. In our division, of course, with everyone still in it we need to play our best ball right now.”