Initially, it was believed that the hamstring injury suffered by Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher could force the future NFL Hall of Fame linebacker to miss the remainder of the 2012 season. Now it appears that the injury could lead the Bears’ long-time defensive leader into retirement.
Urlacher, 34, has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 hamstring tear, which typically carries a recovery time of 3-6 weeks. With that timeframe in mind, it wouldn’t be out of the question to assume he might not see the field again this season, even if the Bears made the playoffs.
At the end of the season, Urlacher’s contract will expire. Seeing as him and the Bears have yet to undergo any sort of substantial contract talks, it’s possible that Chicago could let the aging linebacker walk and test his value on the open market. If that’s the case, it’s hard to imagine many teams showing significant interest in the injury-prone linebacker. As far as we know, Urlacher might have already played his last game in the NFL.
Throughout his 13 years in the league, Urlacher has amassed 1,229 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles and two touchdowns. Although he has been slowed by injuries and age as the years have passed, the New Mexico product has proven to be an invaluable asset to the Bears.
At this point in his career, Urlacher would be best to leave his legacy untarnished and finish up his playing days with the team that brought him into the league. It’s better for him to hang up the cleats now and avoid being a big disappointment or risk suffering a crippling injury as his lack of athleticism and durability continue to put him into high-risk situations.
It’s time for Urlacher to step down and hand the leader role to Lance Briggs. It might not be what Chicago fans want, but it’s the right move for his overall health.