The Chicago Bears have recently announced that they are parting ways with Brian Urlacher, their future Hall of Fame middle Linebacker. Urlacher was more than just a Pro Bowl linebacker, he was the face of the franchise ever since the Bears drafted him 9th overall out of New Mexico at the 2000 NFL Draft. This news has left many in the Chicago area shaken up, Friendly Ford included.
It was said the Bears offered a take it or leave it 1-year 2 million dollar contract ultimatum. Urlacher was looking for at least 3 million and found the offer insulting. Both sides then agreed to part ways which made for a sad day in the Windy City.
The beginning of the end of the Urlacher era can be traced back to the Bears total collapse after starting the season 7-1 last year. They finished the season losing 5 out of their last 8 games and missing the playoffs with a 10-6 record. This debacle led to the firing of long-time head coach and Urlacher supporter, Lovie Smith. With Smith and his staff gone, the Bears front office turned to Canadien Football League coach Marc Trestman to call the shots.
The split was a surprise to many because Urlacher was still playing football at a very high level even at the age of 34. However, he did have a problem staying healthy in recent years and missed the last 4 games of the season last year which contributed to the Bears missing the playoffs. Most feel certain though that Lovie Smith would have 100% been in favor of bringing Urlacher back next season.
Over the course of his illustrious career with the Bears, Urlacher collected plenty of hardware the last 13 seasons. He was selected to 8 Pro Bowls, won NFL Rookie of the Year in 2000 and was selected as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. He also led the 2006 Bears to their first Super Bowl appearance since the 1985 team won it all back in the glory years.
Friendly Ford wants to thank Brian Urlacher for all the great memories throughout the years and wish him nothing but the best in the future!