Prior to this article, I personally felt that as a Bears fan, the right move was for the Bears to re-sign Brian Urlacher. Well, in an announcement made by their GM Phil Emery, that will not be the case this year. With an official statement made to the Chicago Press, both sides have opted to move on, meaning this will be the end of Brian Urlacher’s era in Chicago. As Zach Zaidman reported over Twitter:
Phil Emery: “We were unable to reach an agreement with Brian and both sides have decided to move forward.”
— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) March 20, 2013
After 13 seasons, his career will be ending with the Bears following a season where he missed the final 4 games with a hamstring injury. With the introduction of an offensive minded Head Coach in Marc Trestman, this latest move potentially signifies a transition from being a defense-oriented team, to an offense-oriented team. There is still a chance he will sign with another team for the 2013 season, but his market is very limited as of right now.
First off, he is turning 35 years old this year. Also, he not only suffered a hamstring injury last season, but injured his left knee in the 2011 finale against the Vikings, and he couldn’t finish the game. His recovery from that injury, definitely slowed him down last season. He just didn’t look like the same dominant player he once was throughout his career in Chicago. In a game where the average career lasts 3 years, time has finally caught up with this legendary face of the Bears. And so, his time with the Bears has sadly come to an end.
This move was surely not an easy one made by the Bears. After all, how will they “replace”a potential Hall of Fame player that has such an extensive resume? During his glorious career, Brian Urlacher was selected to 8 Pro Bowls, named a member of the All-Pro team 4 times, and the 2005 Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, he was chosen as the 2000 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Now, the Bears are in a similar position that the Baltimore Ravens currently face, where the Bears have lost 2 of their 3 starting LBs from last season. Starting OLB Nick Roach signed with the Raiders earlier in the week, and there is currently a huge hole at the MLB position that needs to be addressed. It should be noted that new Bears Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker stated the defensive scheme will remain the same.
Given that I’m a Bears fan who grew up watching Brian Urlacher, this is a move that truly saddens me. Nevertheless, this was a move we all knew would happen sometime in the near future, so let it be now with a new regime taking over the storied franchise.