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updated: 8/5/2011 4:55 AM

Murnane gets brief taste of NFL life with Bears

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  • Sean Murnane

    Sean Murnane


A big, bad Chicago Bear occupies space in the Murnanes' Green Oaks home.

He blocks nearly an entire wall.

The Murnanes -- proud Bears fans -- are proud of their pro.

After all, those Fatheads are darn cool. And, well, fat. A Brian Urlacher Fathead is almost Fat Albert in size.

The giant wall sticker of Urlacher is about the same size of the Bears' Pro Bowl middle linebacker (6-feet-4, 258 pounds).

Bears posters and banners and an Urlacher Fathead can be found at the Murnanes'.

"I hope he doesn't come over and see it in my room," Carmel Catholic graduate Sean Murnane said with a laugh in Bourbonnais on Saturday, after completing his first practice as a Bear, on the Bears' first practice of 2011. "It'd be kind of embarrassing."

Murnane should be only proud these days.

A December graduate of Central Michigan University, where he was a three-year starting defensive lineman and earned a degree in marketing, the 6-1, 275-pounder signed a contract with the Bears as a non-drafted free agent last week.

His stay was brief, however. The Bears released Murnane on Monday, but not before he got a small taste of life as an NFL player -- and got to say, for a couple of days anyway, he was a teammate of Urlacher, whom he called a childhood hero.

Murnane had impressed the Bears during a workout at Halas Hall enough for them to contact him once the league lockout ended after four months.

"They really liked my workout, and I liked their coaching staff, their philosophy and what they run," Murnane said. "I decided they'd be the best fit for me to have a chance to have some fun and play some football."

Murnane was an all-state defensive end for Carmel in 2005 and a three-year varsity starter. As a senior, he earned a spot on the Daily Herald All-Area team, which also included Indianapolis Colts first-round draft pick Anthony Castonzo (Lake Zurich) and Cincinnati Bengals non-drafted free agent signee Chris Riley (Warren).

At Central Michigan, Murnane was an all-Mid-American Conference third team selection three years in a row. He wrapped up his career, after four years of wrapping up ballcarriers, by notching sacks against Northwestern and Northern Illinois and finishing second on the Chippewas in tackles for loss with nine. Better yet, he was also named academic All-MAC and made the CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District IV first team.

On his first day wearing a Bears helmet and No. 70 practice jersey and shorts, both his brain and brawn were challenged.

"It was tough," Murnane said as he walked off Olivet Nazarene University's practice field on a sunny day when the temperature soared into the 90s. "The individual (one-on-one work) was the hardest part. The whole D-line and just the tempo -- the heat -- was tough. I've learned a ton already."

Learning is something Murnane seems to relish as much as he does penetrating offensive backfields and stuffing runs.

"I'm trying to earn a job," the rookie said. "It's great to see those (veteran players') success and see how hard they're working. I'm just trying to hold my own and compete. They're working their butt off."

Murnane did, too. And he likely won't forget his brief time as Brian Urlacher's teammate.