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Full release: Bears part ways with Brian Urlacher
Here’s the Bears’ full news release, announcing the end of the Brian Urlacher era in Chicago: The Chicago Bears announced today they were unable to reach accord on a contract with LB Brian Urlacher for the 2013 season. Urlacher is a free agent after playing the last 13 years with the Bears.
“We were unable to reach an agreement with Brian and both sides have decided to move forward,” Bears General Manager Phil Emery said. “Brian has been an elite player in our league for over a decade. He showed great leadership and helped develop a winning culture over his time with the Bears. We appreciate all he has given our team, on and off the field. Brian will always be welcome as a member of the Bears.”
“Over the last 13 years Brian Urlacher has been an outstanding player, teammate, leader and face of our franchise,” Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey said. “As Bears fans, we have been lucky to have such a humble superstar represent our city. He embodies the same characteristics displayed by the Bears all-time greats who played before him and he will eventually join many of them in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We thank Brian for all he has given our team and our city. He will always be a part of the Bears family. We wish him the very best.”
The eight-time Pro Bowler started 180-of-182 games played in 13 seasons (2000-12) with the Bears recording a franchise-record 1,779 tackles. The ninth overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft recorded 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 opponent fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles for Chicago. Urlacher was honored as the 2005 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, the 2000 NFL Rookie of the Year, was a four-time All-Pro (2001-02, 2005-06), a two-time Brian Piccolo Award winner (2000 and 2007) and was named the team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner in 2011.