CHICAGO — Brian Urlacher wasn't sure how dominant he could be any longer, so he's calling it a career after 13 seasons with the Bears.
And what a career:
• Eight Pro Bowl seasons.
• 2005 defensive player of the year.
•2006 NFC champion.
And now, it's over. The linebacker announced his retirement through social media Wednesday.
"After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire," Urlacher said in a statement. "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."
Urlacher was the face of the Bears, and he ranks among the best middle linebackers to suit up for a franchise with an impressive list that includes Hall of Famers Bill George, Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary.
In March, Urlacher and the Bears were unable to reach a contract agreement and he became a free agent.
"In the pantheon of Bears, Brian has earned his place alongside Halas, Grange, Nagurski, Ditka, Payton — and yes, Bill George, Butkus and Singletary," Bears chairman George McCaskey said. "We congratulate Brian on a brilliant career, and he will continue to be a welcomed member of the Bears Family in retirement."
Urlacher started 180 games from 2000-12 and made a team-record 1,779 tackles. He had 41½ sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles. Last year, he was slowed by a knee problem, then missed the final four games with a hamstring injury.
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