Dhani Jones has been a constant headliner this week. During his appearance on the NFL Network’s “Total Access”, Dhani shared his thoughts on the Palmer brothers and Cincinnati itself, and, more notably, criticized Ravens QB Joe Flacco and Bears LB Brian Urlacher. Dhani left Urlacher off his list of the top-ten current NFL linebackers and placed himself 7th.
Dhani’s top-ten received a lot of heat from Urlacher supporters. Journalist Brad Briggs of the Chicago Tribune called Dhani’s list “an unprovoked attack” and even headlined an article “Brian Urlacher should ask, ‘Who is Dhani Jones?‘“. Urlacher’s teammate and fellow linebacker Nick Roach scoffed at the list, saying, “I just have to laugh at things like that because clearly, you’re talking about a multi-time Pro Bowler, who gets talked about in terms of when he is going to make the Hall of Fame, not if”.
Urlacher himself appeared on ESPN 1000’s “Waddle and Silvy”, a radio show hosted by ESPN Chicago, and he shot back at the Bengals’ leading tackler. Here’s a nice little script of their conversation:
W: So we had Dhani Jones on the other day, and it seems that, when all else fails, Tweet or say something bad about the Bears.
U: (mumbles) That’s what somebody else said…
W: Like what MoJo-Drew said about Jay [Cutler]-
W: Dhani Jones about you!
U: Let me say this about Maurice Jones—Didn’t he not play the last 2 games of the season with a knee injury, when his team had a chance to make the playoffs?
U: Isn’t that what happened with him?
S: Yeah that’s what happened.
U: Harris [Bears Safety] told me that right after the game, He was like, ‘Didn’t he just…?’ So..
W: He won’t talk to us again. We had Mo-Jones Drew out from the Superbowl, and he was ticked that we were asking questions about him!
U: Well he shouldn’t ‘a said it then. You know, if you say something publicly, you’re probably getting questioned about it… Anyway… you were saying somethin’ about Dhani? [smiles]
W: Yeah, so then we had Dhani– Dhani comes up with this list, goes on the NFL Network, and he puts himself seventh on the all-time — er, not all-time, current top-ten linebackers. And, he says Urlacher is not on there because he can’t get off a block. And, we had him on here–
S: His exact word were, “When was the last time Brian got off a block?”. To which I responded, “When was the last time Dhani Jones intercepted a pass?” Which was 2008, which was 5 for his career–
U: Look, I think we were drafted in the same class, right? Is he a 2000 guy?
S: I think so–
U: And, I haven’t heard anything about him since then. (laughing by W) So, I don’t, I mean…
S: Yeah. I mean he hasn’t made a pro bowl, and he admitted that!
U: You know what though, I saw him on a TV show with a bow tie on though.
W: Yeah. (four claps by W)
U: I mean, so I know him better for the way he dresses than the way he plays on the football field. Look, guys are gonna talk. I mean I’ve been called- I’ve definitely been- had a lot worse things said about me, publicly from guys. So, I mean I can live with it.
Urlacher’s response was received warmly by his hosts, along with some clapping, laughing, and high-fives all around. They did go on to discuss Urlacher’s hate for the turf of Soldier Field, and the possibility of Plaxico Burress in Chicago.
In addition, yesterday, Waddle and Silvy brought in Washington Redskins 3rd-string (apparently) QB Donovan McNabb, whom some Bengals fans have connected as a likely veteran QB candidate for the Bengals .
After being questioned about Dhani’s list and Urlacher, Donovan praised the veteran Bears LB as “one of the top-three linebackers in the game”.
Brian is a very effective linebacker, and a great leader– a guy who gets to the ball. He’s in the right places at the right time. And, I think when you’re a veteran linebacker, those are your qualities. It’s not about your speed anymore like you’re coming out of the combine. It’s not about guys running sideline to sideline, it’s about being in the right gap at the right time, it’s about getting the guys in the right position to be very successful on the defensive side. That’s what Brian is, Brian is your guy that you have confidence in that he’s gonna make the big play on third down when you need it. …. But, Brian to me is probably one of the top-three linebackers in the game, not just middle linebackers, but linebackers in the game.