From 2000 to 2012, Brian Urlacher was the staple that held the Chicago Bears‘ defense together. When you look at his place among former linebackers in team history, Urlacher is among a select group of some of the NFL’s greatest players at the position. Names like Bill George, Bronko Nagurski, Mike Singletary, and Dick Butkus are the ones that come to mind here.
Those four names and their legendary status are cemented in Chicago. Similarly, Urlacher’s play and accolades will be forever remembered by the Bears fans that were privileged enough to watch him play while healthy.
The fact of the matter is that Urlacher’s personal image is starting to be tainted in the eyes of Bears fans. As you may recall, he was not re-signed by the organization after the 2012-13 season due to the inability to reach an agreement on a contract. There was a perceived decline in productivity and also the uncertainty in his ability to remain healthy going forward.
Trust me, I was one of the people who hated to see Urlacher walk away from the game because of a contract dispute. There had to have been some middle ground that the two sides could have agreed upon.
Now, Urlacher’s days are spent working for the Fox Sports Network as a football analyst. Every now and then since his departure from the Bears he will make some noise in the media about his former team and teammates. For instance, he expressed how he and QB Jay Cutler were not as close as they could’ve been. At one point this past season, he was vocally in support of Josh McCown being the starting QB over Cutler. More recently, Urlacher was “frustrated” that the Bears decided to part ways with former teammate Devin Hester.
While Brian Urlacher’s opinion will always be welcomed here in Chicago because of who he was on the team, his past comments have appeared to come across in a whining tone to faithful Bear fans. The last person that the Urlacher should want his persona to be comparable to is Jerry Angelo, who was relieved of his general manager position with the team the offseason before Urlacher’s final year in the NFL.
Last week, the Chicago Bears let it be known that they plan on honoring Urlacher’s years of service to the team. At last report the team hadn’t received a response from him. Whether or not there is still any animosity on his part toward the front office remains to be seen. If not, that call should be returned.
We’re nearly a full year removed from Urlacher’s retirement. I think it’s about time that amends finally be made. Some wounds will never quite heal, but time works wonders. Brian Urlacher may have wanted his football career to end on his own terms, but that shouldn’t diminish the thirteen seasons he spent building his legendary resume in Chicago. He deserves to be remembered for what he meant to the organization.