Brian Urlacher was a teammate to hundreds of Bears throughout his 13-year career, and a few shared their thoughts on his retirement which he announced today.
And like so many of the current Bears, they have spent their entire careers with a team led by Urlacher each year. 2013 will mark the first season in which No. 54 isn't calling the plays and leading the team out of the huddle.
Safety Major Wright, who said Urlacher took him under his wing as a rookie, telling him where to line up in the Bears' Cover 2 defense, said Urlacher's best trait was treating everyone in the locker room the same.
"Me being a rookie, coming out there playing he'll basically get you lined up," he told ChicagoBears.com. "This defense, you couldn't get lined up without Urlacher. He makes the calls, the checks, he knows everything, the ins and outs of this defense. He was a great guy and he's gonna be missed."
Devin Hester, who has played all seven NFL seasons with Urlacher, said the two still keep in touch--Hester even was at Urlacher's house earlier in the week--said life after football will treat the 34-year-old All-Pro well.
"It's shocking news, but at the same time Brian is up there (in age)," Hester said. "The most important thing is his life, his family, he has some beautiful kids back at home he's been in the league for 13 years. So he made enough money where he's established himself to live a comfortable life, and now I'm pretty sure his kids are more happy than anything.
"I see Brian in the locker room every day, a big kid at heart on the field. He was always upbeat, always playing around, having fun. He's the type of guy where, even though he's not on the team, he still communicates with his old teammates and he's gonna be well-missed here."
As many of Urlacher's former teammates surely have, safety Craig Steltz remembers his first day at Halas Hall and how Urlacher was one of the first players to greet him when he walked through the door.
"I think the game of football and the Bears organization is losing a great player, and a great person," he said. "Brian was one of the first guys to introduce himself. He made everybody feel like home here, whether you were a rookie or coming from another team in your tenth year, he made everybody feel the same and was a great person."
To see all videos of teammates sharing their thoughts on Urlacher, visit ChicagoBears.com.