Urlacher far from first unfortunate departure by Bears greats

Urlacher far from first unfortunate departure by Bears greats
March 20, 2013, 6:00 pm
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Assuming he catches on with another NFL team, Brian Urlacher will not be the first distinguished Bears alum to leave under less-than-cozy circumstances and take his talents elsewhere in the league:

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Doug Atkins
Hall of Fame defensive end had 12 Chicago seasons, then asked to be traded and was dealt to New Orleans for 1967-69. The Saints retired his No. 81 (Bears didn’t).

Richard Dent  
Hall of Fame defensive end, Super Bowl XX MVP, posted 12.5 sacks in ‘93, contract talks in ’94 turned sour, and Dent went to San Francisco, Indianapolis and Philadelphia, with a three-game return to Chicago in ’95.

[RELATED: Bears 'settled' for Urlacher in 2000 draft]

Mike Ditka
Clashes with George Halas and Halas throwing nickels around “like manhole covers” finally got the HOF tight end traded to Philadelphia in ’67 and from there to Dallas in ’69.

Jim Finks
The architect of the ’80s Bears left to become Cubs president from late ’83 through Cubs’ NL East win in ’84. Took over woeful New Orleans franchise and turned that around before dying of cancer in ’94 and being inducted into the HOF in ’95.

Bill George
Original Bears MLB, started as a “middle guard” who dropped into coverage on pass reads and was selected to eight straight Pro Bowls. The Bears drafted Dick Butkus in 1965 and George played 1966 with the Los Angeles Rams.
 
Jay Hilgenberg
Voted to his seventh straight Pro Bowl in ‘91, he and the Bears were at a contract impasse in the ’92 and Hilgenberg was traded to the Browns for fourth-round pick in preseason, played a year there and finished with the New Orleans Saints in ’93.

[RELATED: Urlacher's Hall of Fame career started as a mistake]
 
Jim McMahon
Injuries and frictions with Mikes Ditka and McCaskey got the Punky QB dealt to San Diego in 1989, followed by stops in Philadelphia, Minnesota Arizona and Green Bay, and several meetings with the Bears.
 
Steve McMichael
Two-time Pro Bowl DT fixture played one year (’93) for Dave Wannstedt before squeezing out one more year – as a Green Bay Packer – at age 37.

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