Brian Urlacher. The name is synonymous with Bears football. He has been a part of the organization since he entered the NFL in the 2000 as the ninth pick in the 1st round. As a Chicago Bears fan, I was disappointed (to say the least) when I read that Urlacher became a free agent because he and his team of 13 years could not reach a contract agreement for the upcoming season.
The leadership he has provided on and off the field, the level of morale he has helped maintain, and the impressive career statistics he has achieved would leave a huge hole in the team and more specifically, the unbelievable defense that was built over the course of his career. In his time with the Bears, Urlacher has played in 182 games, racking up a combined total of 1,229 tackles (including 41.5 sacks), 22 interceptions, and two touchdowns (one of which came in the 2012 season). He and Lance Briggs are a linebacker duo as powerful as they come and to split them up would be an unfortunate misstep by management.
Despite being injured toward the end of both the 2011 and 2012 seasons, there was still something to be said for his presence on the sidelines at games. It seemed any time a camera panned to him, he had a smile on his face or was giving instruction to a member of his team, making sure he stayed as involved and positive as he could given the unfortunate circumstances.
Urlacher promised that he would return after his MCL injury in 2011 and continue to contribute at a high level of play, and did just that until he sustained a hamstring injury in the 13th week of last season. Many were skeptical that this would be the final straw and he would retire, but he said he wanted to come back, and despite his contract coming to an end, insisted “… if I have a chance to be a Bear, I want to be a Bear.”
He is approaching an “old” age by NFL standards (turning 35 in May) and should his career end with this season, he should be nothing but proud of his accomplishments. However I, along with thousands of other Bears fans, would like to see him return to the field in the familiar orange and blue uniform and campaign at least one last time for a much-deserved Super Bowl Championship ring.