Brian Urlacher has been the face of the Chicago Bears' defense for… (Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated…)
Brian Urlacher will not return to the Chicago Bears for the 2013 season, the team announced in a news release Wednesday.
The eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker and the Bears had been in talks but they were unable to agree on a deal.
“Brian has been an elite player in our league for over a decade,” General Manager Phil Emery said, via NFL.com. “He showed great leadership and helped develop a winning culture over his time with the Bears. We appreciate all he has given our team, on and off the field. Brian will always be welcome as a member of the Bears.”
Urlacher, 34, will test free agency. It has been rumored that Urlacher has been in conversations with another NFC North team, the Minnesota Vikings.
Urlacher’s 2012 season was cut short after he suffered a hamstring injury. In 12 starts, he made 68 tackles, had one interception and scored one touchdown.
The Bears finished 10-6 and did not reach the playoffs.
Urlacher appeared in 182 games for Chicago and had 1,229 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 15 fumble recoveries and two touchdowns.
The Bears selected Urlacher with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft. He went on to become rookie of the year.
“Over the last 13 years, Brian Urlacher has been an outstanding player, teammate, leader and face of our franchise,” Chairman George McCaskey said. “As Bears fans, we have been lucky to have such a humble superstar represent our city. He embodies the same characteristics displayed by the Bears all-time greats who played before him and he will eventually join many of them in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We thank Brian for all he has given our team and our city. He will always be a part of the Bears family. We wish him the very best.”
Pete Carroll calls Tim Leiweke's exit 'a setback' to NFL in L.A.
As Anschutz takes reins, it's a moment of truth for NFL in L.A.
NFL owners approve controversial 'crown-of-the-helmet' rule change