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The Door Isn't Closed to Urlacher, but Does Drafting a Linebacker Lock It?

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John "Moon" Mullin theorized that a linebacker high in the draft locks out Brian Urlacher for good. Hasn't the door already factually closed?

Jonathan Daniel

When Brian Urlacher and the Bears parted ways, I assumed it'd be for good. Even after George McCaskey inferred the door wasn't locked to the linebacker, I still don't think Urlacher is coming back.

John "Moon" Mullin wrote on Friday that the draft could lock that door to Urlacher once and for all, since the Bears are predicted by Mel Kiper and four of the eight NFL.com mocks to pick up a linebacker with the 20th pick (of those five, four including Kiper are predicting Manti Te'o).

I'm not quibbling that the Bears are likely to draft a linebacker - with not much depth behind the starters and those starters on expiring contracts, the Bears need to leave the draft with at least one linebacker. My quibble is, how does this close the door forever on Urlacher?

If anything, the door for Urlacher to return was closed as soon as the Bears signed a starter-quality linebacker to start at middle linebacker.

D.J. Williams is a starter-quality linebacker who's started at middle linebacker (at least when he wasn't suspended). If the Bears sign back Urlacher, that pushes Williams to the bench - is that what the Bears signed Williams for?

And flip it around - does Urlacher grandstand for his deal, throw down the disrespect card, then come crawling back for a smaller deal and to play backup? At this stage of his career, is Brian Urlacher a better linebacker than D.J. Williams? If not (and I don't think so), if he did sign for the backup position, how long until the clamoring begins for him to start? Could signing Urlacher hurt the team in that regard?

The Bears are in transition, and that transition leaves Urlacher on the outs.