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Inside the NFL | TIMES E-MAIL WITH JIM BELUSHI

Da Bear Fans Know All About Suffering

October 18, 2003|Sam Farmer

Sam Farmer, pro football specialist for The Times, is spending some of his time this season swapping e-mail with people in and around the NFL. This week, Farmer was online with actor Jim Belushi, a longtime fan of the Chicago Bears who recently shot NFL promotional spots with the rest of the "According to Jim" cast that will be shown on scoreboards around the league.

Farmer: You played on the offensive and defensive lines in high school. What were you like as a player?

Belushi: We all were emulating Dick Butkus back then. That's what we were like. We were aggressive and tough and not afraid to be hit.

Farmer: Middle linebacker has changed so much over the years. There's such a premium put on speed and ability to cover not just tight ends but third receivers. Do you think Butkus would fit in now?

Belushi: You're talking to the wrong guy, because to me, Dick Butkus is God. I grew up with this guy. He's the toughest SOB alive. He could have played football, basketball, baseball, anything he wanted. He was the best at anything he wanted to do.

Farmer: What do you think of Brian Urlacher?

Belushi: Thank God for Urlacher. The thing about the Bears is, they have always had one or two great players. Stars. We had Walter Payton for years and never went anywhere. You need more than one. Right now Urlacher's the star. He needs help.

Farmer: Was signing Kordell Stewart a mistake?

Belushi: Well, I was blaming Kordell too. I talked to Mike Ditka about it and he said: "Got no line. Got no line? Got no run. Got no run? Got no pass. Got no pass? Got no win." That's it. Kordell needs a break because he gets no help.

Farmer: What's it like, pulling for a team that just can't get it together?

Belushi: There are 157 people that work on "According to Jim." And they all watch the Bears' game because they want to know if they should stay away from me or come to me on Monday morning. I walk in on a Monday morning after a Bears' loss and people will not look me in the eye. Their heads are down. They're scared. My wife feeds me like you feed a tiger. She puts the food down, pushes the plate and steps back. It's very hard to be a Bears' fan right now.

Farmer: You were at the Bears' opener at the new Soldier Field. What did you think of the place?

Belushi: I was extremely impressed. I was there early in the day. I walked everywhere. I was in the grandstand, down in the plush seats, up in the end-zone seats. I was in the suites in the corner and the suites in the center. There is not a bad seat at that Soldier Field.

And I like that modern against the old. I think it's cool. I don't think photographs do it justice. I think it's the best stadium I've been in. It blows Staples Center away.

Farmer: Can you see that design working in Los Angeles?

Belushi: Let's back up a second. Let's get a football team in L.A. before we start talking about designs.

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