It is officially the end of an era. For 13 years Brian Urlacher has been the face of the Chicago Bears franchise. Throughout his extraordinary career he has bled only navy, orange and white and has been the one true “Monster of the Midway.” On Wednesday morning the eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker announced his retirement from the NFL.
Urlacher had been testing the waters of free agency this year after the Bears could not reach an agreement with the star linebacker. When it came down to his NFL future, he said, “Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards. When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear.”
He went on to say, “I will miss my teammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss the great game, but I leave with no regrets.”
Here’s a little breakdown of some of his accomplishments:
- 2000 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Winner
- 2005 Defensive Player of the Year Winner
- First-Team All-Pro 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006
- Pro Bowl Appearances: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011
- 2012 Ed Block Courage Award (given to those who showed a commitment to sportsmanship and courage)
As a selfish Urlacher lover, I’m honestly happy I don’t have to see him suit up in another jersey next season, but this isn’t the ideal way to send off a future hall-of-famer.
It is unclear what the next steps will be for #54. Will we see him on NFL network or CSN Chicago providing commentary? Will he be a part of the Bears organization in some capacity, possibly as a coach? Or will he head back to his roots of New Mexico and enjoy his retired life sipping on cold beer and playing some golf? Whatever he chooses, he deserves the best.
Urlacher, you are a class act. Chicago fans everywhere thank you for giving us something to cheer about these past 13 years. You will be missed!
The Chicago Bears were full of smooth moves this off season making improvements to the team’s offense, but it looks like things are a little shaky on the defensive end coming into the 2012-2013 season. Eight-time Pro Bowl selection Brian Urlacher, the heart and soul of the Chicago Bears defense, is still suffering from a knee injury he faced last season. After all the excitement from the offensive Cutler-Marshall duo wears off, should Bears fans be a little worried?
Last Tuesday Urlacher had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee – AKA a left knee scope. Now we’ve learned that Urlacher didn’t necessarily wait until the last minute to relieve his knee pain. According to a Chicago Tribune report, Urlacher traveled to Europe earlier this offseason for a “non-invasive treatment” on his left knee. This treatment is known as Regenokine injection therapy and has been utilized by other athletes such a Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez. What’s the catch you ask? The procedure has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration so it’s not “up for discussion” just yet.
The middle linebacker and the Bears are still targeting the Sept. 9 opener against Indianapolis for his return, but is this the best idea? The Bears organization keeps emphasizing the importance of the first game of the year – why rush Urlacher back on the field before he’s absolutely ready (especially when the Bears should be able to beat the Colts without their Pro Bowl Linebacker)? Does Lovie Smith’s defense only work if all four Pro Bowl defensive players stay healthy and on the field?
Urlacher acknowledged that the knee could be an issue all season adding, ‘‘I don’t see it getting any better during the season. We have to manage it, my reps in practice, and then get through Sunday.’’
Right now, fill-in middle linebacker Nick Roach can play the position capably. The key to the Bear’s success defensively will highly be influenced by the pass rush. In the preseason game against the Redskins we saw an example of some sultry pass rushing when Israel Idonije forced Robert Griffin III to fumble and Julius Peppers recovered the ball. If the big men up front get a ferocious rhythm going, our defense can survive while Urlacher recovers.
Knee injuries are no walk in the park and should always be taken seriously. Ultimately, it’s most important that Chicago brings Urlacher back slowly and the team tries to overcome his absence in the meantime. We gotta be cautious! We need the big man for some Bears playoff wins!