We know that Brian Urlacher wants to return to Chicago, the city where he spent the last 13 seasons playing middle linebacker, but what we don't know is whether the Bears will want him back. Urlacher will be 35 years old when the 2013 season kicks off, and has had some pretty serious health issues over the last few seasons.
He was never able to get fully healthy in 2012, primarily due to an arthroscopic knee surgery last August, and ended up missing the last four games of the season with a significant hamstring injury. But it looks like he's back to training... He tweeted this earlier on Sunday:
Can't wait for the season to start-BU #gettingitdone snip.ps/gitd— Brian Urlacher (@BUrlacher54) March 3, 2013
In 2009, Urlacher dislocated his wrist in the first game of the season, and was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve after having surgery. In 2010, he returned to the field, and enjoyed his 5th All-Pro and 7th Pro Bowl season of his career.
In 2011, Urlacher suffered a sprained MCL during week 17 versus the Vikings, and that it what led up to the knee arthroscopic debridement right before the 2012 season.
To me, there's only one factor in whether Urlacher gets a contract offer from Chicago: His health. If his neck, back, and knees are strong enough to let him play, he'll be back. If his body is just too worn down at this point to fully heal (or, heal as much as a veteran LB possibly can), we could be seeing a new middle linebacker in Chicago for the first time in a long time.
For perspective, the last time Brian Urlacher wasn't the starting MLB for the Chicago Bears, the top movies in theaters were Fight Club, The Green Mile, and Star Wars: Episode 1. The top songs were Believe (Cher), Hit Me Baby One More Time (Britney Spears), and No Scrubs (TLC). Yes, it's been that long.