Brian Urlacher
Brian Urlacher was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 4. In this picture, Urlacher is honored with a Ring of Excellence ceremony for his recent induction into the Hall of Fame at Soldier Field on Sept. 17, 2018, in Chicago. Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Brian Urlacher returned to the Soldier Field for the first time since his playing days ended in 2012 on Monday, but on this occasion it was to be commemorated over his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The former Chicago Bears linebacker ran out on to the field during half-time but was also joined by a number of his former teammates including linebacker Lance Briggs, kick return extraordinaire Devin Hester, running back Matt Forte, centers Olin Kreutz and Roberto Garza and edge rushers Israel Idonije and Alex Brown.

Urlacher was given his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring by Bears matriarch Virginia McCaskey. The linebacker, who played his entire career from 2002 to 2012 with the Bears was delighted at the opportunity to run out on the field for one last time. He specially thanked the fans for remaining in their seats for the ceremony, his former teammates and his family.

“The coolest thing was the fans,” Urlacher said, as per the Chicago Sun Times. “I pictured them funneling out, going to get drinks, going to the restroom — that’s what I do when I go to stuff. To see them all stay there, to have my teammates there, my wife, my really good friends there, it was a cool experience.”

The former Bears linebacker’s bust was on display on the field when he was honored, while the team also gave his family a miniature statue of Urlacher in the Bears uniform. He also revealed this was his first game as a fan since his last appearance for the franchise on Dec. 2, 2012.

“I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to the fans,” the linebacker added. “You never know when it’s your last game. I especially didn’t know it was my last game. So to get a chance to come back and do this. … All my teammates, 15 or 16 guys came back. I get a chance to see them, go to the facility, see a lot of people that worked there when I was there. It was awesome.”

Urlacher was honored during the Bears’ game against the Seattle Seahawks, which they went on to win 24-17 to record their first win of the season. The Chicago franchise lost their opening game of the NFL season to the Green Bay Packers despite leading 20-0 in the third quarter.

The former Bears linebacker spoke to the media after his half-time speech and revealed he has not been “as excited” about a team since he left. Urlacher praised the defense and believes Matt Nagy has a balanced team on his hands going into the new season.

“This defense has some really good football players on it,” Urlacher said. “They can win on defense. I think that’s very apparent. I think coach Nagy knows that. ... But they also have some explosive players on offense, as well. It’s just fun. They’re a complete team. They have really good players at every position. This is as excited I’ve been about a team since I left.”