Brian Urlacher announces his retirement from the NFL and Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) looks across the line at Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) during the third quarter at EverBank Field. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (54) looks across the line at Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) during the third quarter at EverBank Field. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Urlacher spent 13 years as the next in a very long line of elite middle linebackers in the Midway. However, following his 13th season in Chicago, Urlacher was not offered the free agent deal he was hoping for and looked around — half-heartedly — for another contract offer.

Instead of playing elsewhere, Urlacher has chosen instead to retire from the game of football as one of the greatest to ever wear a Bears jersey.

This via Urlacher’s WhoSay account:

After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire. Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards. When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear. I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way. I will miss my teammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets.

So many players have tried to hang on for a few extra seasons, lacing them up for teams in different cities and in strange, unfamiliar jerseys.

Urlacher has chosen not to do so, but instead leave the game as a Bear, and only a Bear. Very few players in the history of the game can say that.

An eight-time Pro-Bowler, Urlacher retires with 1,353 career combined tackles, 41.5 sacks and 22 interceptions. According to ESPN, he retires as one of four players in NFL history to break both the 40-sack and 20-pick plateau. He was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000 and named to the 2000’s All-Decade Team.

His 153 tackles in 2002 are a franchise record, and he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.