Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher announced today that he is retiring from the NFL after 13 seasons.
I know this is a Packers website but when one of the all-time greats from a division rival hangs up the cleats, it’s noteworthy. Urlacher is a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer. No doubt about it. Even the casual fan knows who he is and what he accomplished for the Chicago Bears and the NFL.
Packers fans surely will forever remember the frustration that he caused them and their team during all of those years.
Here is the message Urlacher posted via his Twitter account:
He ends a career in which he wore only one uniform and was the face of the franchise. In today’s NFL, it is rare to see a player stay with his original team for that length of time. But it almost didn’t end that way.
The Bears had released Urlacher earlier this offseason and, initially, it created a bit of a rift between he and the team. Reports emerged that Urlacher felt that the Bears made him a very low “take it or leave it” offer to stay this season, and he chose to leave it.
Rumors started about which teams might have an interest in the veteran linebacker, one of which was the always-popular choice to pick up an old divisional foe: the Minnesota Vikings. I think it’s safe to say that those rumors were false.
Urlacher also made some very frustrated comments about the situation and the reaction of some fans. He stated that he didn’t care what they thought and that he didn’t play the game for any other reason than for himself. Urlacher clearly backed off of that platform today with a statement that he released, part of which stated:
“. . .When considering this along with the fact I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear. . .I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way,” Urlacher said. “I will miss my teammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regret”
Urlacher leaves behind a legacy and stellar career that included over 1,000 tackles and 41.5 sacks. Coming out of college, it was Urlacher’s speed that stood out. He played safety and was converted to linebacker. Someone saw something in him and they were right.
Besides the great stats and leadership that he brought forth every week, Urlacher was a throwback. An old-school and hard-nosed football player who played hard on every snap. Offensive players knew where he was on the field at all times and if they didn’t, they received a harsh reminder. With the rule changes that have been implemented in the NFL recently, it’s not likely that we will see another warrior like Brian Urlacher.
I’m glad that I personally had the chance to see him play, in person, on a few occasions. I’ll be surprised if he isn’t still among my top five all-time favorite players when all is said and done. The game and the Bears will surely miss #54.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: