Brian Urlacher Retires as a Bear

Urlacher’s dominant performances make him a likely HOF candidate.

Brian Urlacher has decided to hang up his cleats and retire as a lifelong Chicago Bear. The 13 year vet had faced injury problems and a significant drop off in on the field production in recent years, but was still planning to continue playing after he and the Bears cut ties with one another after the conclusion of the 2012 NFL season. Urlacher released a statement via his Twitter account earlier today saying that “It was an honor to play my entire career for the @ChicagoBears.”

Urlacher also released a statement via WhoSay that explains in greater detail how he reached his decision”

“After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire. Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards. When considering this, along with the fact that 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. 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 regrets.”

A first class player throughout his career, Urlacher was one of the players that truly embodied what a professional athlete should be. He stayed out of trouble off the field, and let his passion for what he did show through each and every Sunday he stepped out on to storied Soldier Field. He was, and will remain to be, a great role model for any youth who needs one, and has given aspiring athletes a perfect template for how to go about it the right way.

This is the final page in a legendary career for the middle linebacker out of the University of New Mexico. Playing all 13 seasons of his career as #54 of the Chicago Bears, he became one of only four players in NFL history to amass 40 sacks and 20 interceptions. Many believe the career Urlacher has put together over the past 13 years makes him a future Hall of Famer, and I would be shocked if he isn’t quickly inducted once he becomes eligible. His credentials speak for themselves as an 8 time Pro Bowl selection and 2004 Defensive Player of the Year.

Initially Urlacher planned to continue his playing career after the Bears parted ways with him following a failure between the two to agree on a new contract for the linebacker. Urlacher thought he still had some football left in his tank, but the offers from other teams didn’t develop into what he was hoping for. Injury concerns, as well as his age were main concerns for teams considering signing him. Without a team this near to training camp, it was beginning to look as if the veteran middle linebacker would have been watching this season from the sidelines anyway. Although it will be strange to watch a Bears game without Urlacher directing the defense, retirement was probably the best move for him to make.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille

 

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