By Chris Emma–

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (670 The Score) — Brian Urlacher, the beating heart of the Bears’ defense for 13 seasons, has been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Urlacher was revealed as a Hall of Famer at the University of Minnesota’s Northrop Auditorium on Saturday evening as part of the NFL Honors ceremony. He was selected on his first ballot appearance, joining a class that reportedly includes Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Brian Dawkins as modern-era inductees as well as Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile and Bobby Beathard.

“Everyone there is one of the best at their position in the history of the game,” Urlacher said. “Now I’m a part of that. That’s awesome.”

Urlacher was an eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker and was named All-Pro four times during his 13 NFL seasons, all played with the Bears. A first-round pick in 2000, he was named AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and earned honors as AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

With his selection, Urlacher will join a legacy of Bears linebackers in the Hall of Fame that includes Mike Singletary, Dick Butkus and Bill George.

“Brian certainly did a great job playing middle linebacker for the Bears,” Singletary said Saturday. “He just falls right into that whole group. He did a great job leading them, he did a great job playing that position and he did it very well.”

Urlacher finished with 1,080 tackles, 22 interceptions and four defensive touchdowns during his time with the Bears. He was a team captain and considered to be the leader of the Bears defense. During Urlacher’s tenure in Chicago, the Bears revitalized their identity as a dominant defense and reached the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history back in February of 2007.

“It’s a hell of an honor to go in on the first ballot,” former teammate Charles Tillman said. “That says a lot about you. I think his resume speaks for itself. He did everything he needed to do on the field.”

Added former Bears coach Lovie Smith: “The most humble superstar you’ll ever be around.”

The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2018 will be inducted the first weekend of August in Canton, Ohio.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670 The Score Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.