MORE URLACHER RETIRES NEWS
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Doug Buffone knows something about what Brian Urlacher is going through. Buffone was a fixture as a Bears linebacker for 14 years, one more than Urlacher, and when the team came to him with a final contract offer after the 1979 season, it involved a somewhat diminished role.
[RELATED: Urlacher calls an end to storied 13-year career]
Buffone knew his time was done and turned down the deal. He knew he could still play; the Bears thought he could play, well enough for a contract; and he can relate to Urlacher, who announced his retirement after acknowledging he was not up to the demands another year would put on him and his ability to perform at a level that would satisfy him.
“Brian could come back but the question is, to what degree?” Buffone told CSNChicago.com. “The NFL waits for nobody. It’s not a complete surprise, but then I never thought Ed Reed’d leave Baltimore, or Wes Welker would ever leave New England.
“But everything ends. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame, no question about it.”
[YAHOO!: Urlacher the face of the Bears in the 21st century]
Urlacher was the No. 9 pick of the 2000 draft, coming in under then-linebackers coach Dale Lindsey. With the arrival of Lovie Smith and his staff in 2004, Urlacher was coached by Bob Babich, now the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
[MORE: Urlacher ending not what it should have been]
“I was very fortunate to coach such a great person, player and leader on and off the field,” Babich said. “The nine years with Brian were the most rewarding coaching experience of my career. Not only did I challenge him daily, he helped me become a better coach and person.
[WATCH: Jim Miller calls Urlacher the best LB in Bears history]
“He will go down in history as one of the best middle linebackers in NFL history and is a future Hall of Famer. He revolutionized the game as far as middle linebacker play. We think of him as not only a great player but a part of our immediate family and always will.”