You rarely see a pro athlete break down and sob. When Bears safety Mike Brown did it in the locker room during an interview after Sunday’s 14-3 loss in San Diego, you knew where it was coming from.

One of the toughest interviews ever


You rarely see a pro athlete break down and sob. When Bears safety Mike Brown did it in the locker room during an interview after Sunday’s 14-3 loss in San Diego, you knew where it was coming from.


It was the fourth straight year he’s suffered an injury, and this one could be the final one. You sensed that he sensed he might never play football again, and the finality of it all hit him hard.


He is done for the season, as the team put him on injured reserve Monday. And his loss will be felt on the field. It always has been that way. How do you replace an emotional leader who had an interception, fumble recovery and two passes defensed in a big game against a quality opponent on the road?


You don’t.


Damage to pocket book


The San Diego Times-Union did a front-page story Sunday on LaDainian Tomlinson’s marketability, saying he could net $2.5 million in endorsements this season.


Not bad for a guy who went on to rush for 25 yards in the opener against the Bears.


Imagine if he rushed for 100.


He obviously contributed more than his share in the victory. He threw for a touchdown, rushed for one and no doubt helped make his teammates’ jobs easier because of all the attention focused on him by the Bears’ defense.


Anyhow, he does have the top-selling NFL jersey, with Chicago’s Brian Urlacher third, according to the NFL.


L.T.’s endorsements include Campbell’s Chunky Soup, Vizio, FoxSports.com, EasyTurf, Palomar Pomerado Health District, Nike, VitaminWater, AT&T, Witt Lincoln Mercury and Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co.


How does that compare to the Colts’ Peyton Manning? It doesn’t. Manning made $13 million in endorsements last year, according to Sports Illustrated, to go along with his $10 million salary. Tomlinson’s contract was for $4.25 million last year.


AFC flexes muscle


The AFC met, and conquered, the best the NFC has to offer.


San Diego proved superior to Chicago 14-3, after Indianapolis destroyed New Orleans 41-10. Throw in New England, with Randy Moss going for 183 yards receiving in his Patriots debut, and the AFC probably is a good 7-point favorite already for the Super Bowl.


Actually, even though they lost, the Bears came out of the weekend looking as good as any NFC team. Holding LaDainian Tomlinson to 25 yards on 17 carries shows their defense should keep them in virtually every game.


Headline grabs your eye


It’s fun to see what opposing newspapers have to say about the Bears when you’re on the road. For instance, this was a San Diego Union-Tribune headline one day last week:


“Bears defense solid, but offense is gross, man”


Actually, that headline could have been recycled and used after the game as well.


Contact NFL writer Reed Schreck at 815-987-1381 or rschreck@rrstar.com.