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Bears' Urlacher says he's retiring

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.

Crabtree surgery

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Michael Crabtree, the 49ers' leading receiver, had surgery on his right Achilles tendon, one day after suffering the injury in a team drill. "We do not anticipate it will be season-ending for Michael," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "It was completely torn, and completely repaired." The 25-year-old had career highs last season with 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns for the NFC champion Niners.

Jets: Running back Mike Goodson pleaded not guilty to drug and weapons charges in a court appearance in Morristown, N.J. He was arrested Friday along with a friend. They were charged with marijuana possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and weapons offenses stemming from a handgun that included a hollow-point bullet found in the vehicle. … Rookie quarterback Geno Smith has chosen hip-hop star Jay-Z's new sports agency, Roc Nation Sports, to represent him. Smith, who fell out of the first round last month to No. 39 overall, fired his agents, Select Sports, shortly after the draft.

Bears' Urlacher says he's retiring 05/22/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 9:58pm]
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