For most of this offseason, the Bears have played their contract dance with Brian Urlacher with neither lavish praise, nor a statement that they did not want the veteran linebacker to return in 2013.
They acknowledged that Urlacher was “capable” and had value, but not necessarily to them.
[Related: The Essential Urlacher: Some contract tipping points]
That changed ever so slightly on Wednesday, when coach Marc Trestman turned a card face up. The Bears do want Urlacher back; and for the most basic reason: “He can help us win.”
“[Re-siging Urlacher is] something I’m not concerned about,” Trestman told CSNChicago.com colleague Jim Miller and FOXSports.com’s Alex Marvez on their SiriusXM NFL Radio program from Phoenix.
“It’s a process. We’ve evaluated Brian. We think he can help us win. Phil [Emery, general manager] is doing everything he can to work through this process with Brian and his representatives. I know we’re going to do what’s best for the organization when it’s all resolved. We just have to let things take its course.”
Trestman should be taken at his word. The climate in Chicago is such that the Bears would not face a blizzard of rage if they opted to step away from Urlacher.
Urlacher alienated one significant segment of the fan base last season, with a remark that he did not care what fans thought after they had booed teammates during late-season losses. Add to that the segment of fans who do not believe he is a serviceable middle linebacker, and the Bears would not come in for public excoriation if they determined that Urlacher could no longer help them win.