Although it looked as though Brian Urlacher’s tenure with the Bears would end on a sour note after his release this offseason, the idea of playing in a new uniform proved to unpalatable for the future Hall of Famer. The elite linebacker announced his retirement via Twitter Wednesday.
The tweet simply read, “It was an honor to play my entire career with the @ChicagoBears.”
Urlacher was with the storied franchise since being selected 9th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft out of New Mexico. He finishes his career with 1353 tackles, 41.5 sacks, and 22 interceptions and was elected to eight Pro Bowls and won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2005.
In the statement he released following the announcement, Urlacher made it clear that the idea of playing for another team weighed heavily on his decision, saying:
“After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, Ihave made a decision to retire. Although I could continue playing, I’mnot sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to mystandards. When considering this, along with the fact that I couldretire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storiedfranchise, my decision became pretty clear. I want to thank all of thepeople in my life that have helped me along the way. I will miss myteammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that Igave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I willmiss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets.”
Urlacher’s departure from the Bears was rather contentious this offseason. However, one of his primary suitors was the Minnesota Vikings, a much hated NFC North rival. Taking the step of joining another team, especially the long-time foe, proved too much for Urlacher, who will be remembered as one of the best middle linebackers ever to play the game.