Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/12/12

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher returned to the team Saturday after taking time off for knee soreness and personal reasons and declared on Sunday he will be ready for the season opener.

Urlacher has not practiced since July 31 because of the knee soreness. He sustained a sprained left MCL and PCL during last season's finale on Jan. 1. He did not have surgery and missed the entire offseason.

"Sept. 9, I'll be ready to play for sure," Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday. "That's really all that matters to me. Preseason games, all these practices ... I'd love to be out there, but I'm not going to put myself in jeopardy of missing the first game."

He did not say if he had more tests on his knee but did say that he would not have surgery.

It was the first time Urlacher has spoken publicly since leaving camp last week for personal reasons. He did not play in Thursday's exhibition loss to the Denver Broncos.

The Bears open the season Sept. 9 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Nick Roach has been filling in for Urlacher at middle linebacker.

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