In a move that has surprised most everyone, the Chicago Bears have announced that their inside linebacker of the past 13 seasons will not be returning to Chicago.
LM: #Bears unable to reach agreement with Brian Urlacher for 2013; both sides will move forward.— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 20, 2013
While this was always a possibility, I doubt too many people would have actually thought that Urlacher would allowed to walk away.
He may decide to call it a career at this point, but considering he probably has enough left in the tank for another couple of seasons, it is more likely that he signs somewhere else.
George McCaskey on 54: "As Bears fans, we have been lucky to have such a humble superstar represent our city."— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) March 20, 2013
Phil Emery on 54: "Brian has been an elite player for over a decade. He showedgreat leadership and helped develop a winning culture."— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) March 20, 2013
Brian Urlacher had stated repeatedly that he wanted to return to Chicago, and multiple Bears executives had said they hoped Urlacher would be able to retire a Bear. There doesn't appear to be any bad blood or disputes... This was all about the money.
This news comes on the heels of Nick Roach signing with the Oakland Raiders (LINK), and Geno Hayes signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars... Suddenly one of the best linebacker corps over the last several years is now one of the thinnest.
Best of luck to Urlacher... It will be interesting to see what kind of interest he generates considering the type of money he must be demanding. Could he land in Minnesota? We know the two sides have talked (LINK).
UPDATE: From Urlacher
Just got off the phone with Brian Urlacher.Said Bears gave him a take it or leave it offer of one-year, $2 million.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) March 20, 2013
``It was a ultimatum, not a negotiation,'' Urlacher said. ``I wanted to be in Chicago. I wanted to finish here.''— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) March 20, 2013
That is a vastly different number than the $5.5 million Urlacher was supposedly wanting. What we may not ever know is how much either side was willing to give... Urlacher makes it sound one-sided, but who knows for sure?
Audio of Urlacher's interview on SiriusXM below: