Urlacher still bitter about the way Bears career ended

Urlacher still bitter about the way Bears career ended
September 12, 2013, 11:15 am
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Tony Andracki

The story of Brian Urlacher's offseason contract negotiations with the Bears just won't go away.

The eight-time Pro Bowler and 2005 NFL Defensive Player of the Year sat down on "In Depth with Graham Bensinger" recently to discuss the events leading up to his retirement.

This offseason was the first time Urlacher had truly been a free agent in his 13-year career. He felt he was worth more than the Bears offered in contract talks, and wound up retiring when no deal could be met.

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"I probably would have stayed," Urlacher said. "But I was so mad at the way it was handled. I thought it was just wrong the way it all went down."

When the contract negotiations broke down March 20, Urlacher said the Bears had a tweet out "30 seconds" after his agent got off the phone with the team, saying the esteemed linebacker wouldn't be returning to Chicago for the season.

According to Urlacher, that gave the impression they had a press release already ready to go. He also said he hadn't talked to the Bears for most of the offseason leading up to that late March day.

"I just wish they had told me what was going on the whole time instead of beating around the bush," Urlacher said.

With no future in Chicago, Urlacher set his sights on joining another NFL team, but no call came.

"I honestly thought I'd have a chance and there would be more options," he said. "There were not a lot of people interested. I probably could have waited until June or July and maybe got a call, but I didn't want to do that.

"And I honestly didn't want to play for anybody but the Bears. There was really no amount of money that someone could have paid me to come back."

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Urlacher said he had his mind made up in April he wanted to hang up his spikes and retire as a Bear. He waited until May 22 before announcing it, however, catching a lot of people around the game -- and the city of Chicago -- by surprise.

"Retirement didn't happen the way it probably should have, or the way some people probably wanted it to, but it was the way I wanted it to," Urlacher said.

Check out his complete sit-down interview with Bensinger.