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Urlacher won't be back with Bears

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 5:44 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:14 a.m. CDT
(Nam Y. Huh)
Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) looks on from the sidelines in the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

LAKE FOREST – Brian Urlacher won't be in a Bears uniform next season.

The team announced it was unable to reach an agreement with the 13-year star linebacker on Wednesday. Urlacher filed for free agency last week.

"Brian has been an elite player in our league for over a decade," Bears General Manager Phil Emery said in a written statement. "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, an eight-time Pro Bowler, started 180-of-182 games played in 13 seasons with the Bears recording a franchise-record 1,779 tackles.The ninth overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft recorded 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 opponent fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles for Chicago.

Urlacher was honored as the 2005 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, the 2000 NFL Rookie of the Year, was a four-time All-Pro (2001-02, 2005-06), a two-time Brian Piccolo Award winner (2000 and 2007) and was named the team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner in 2011.              

In a statement issued Wednesday, Bears Chairman George McCaskey said Urlacher will always be a member of the Bears family.

"Over the past 13 years, Brian Urlacher has been an outstanding player, teammate, leader and face of our franchise," 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.”

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