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Bears, Urlacher Officially Part Ways

10:36 AM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
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(CBS) Brian Urlacher's time with the Bears is officially over.

The team announced Wednesday afternoon that they were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract with the linebacker.

"We were unable to reach an agreement with Brian and both sides have decided to move forward," Bears general manager Phil Emery said in a release. "Brian has been an elite player in our league for over a decade. 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."

"I am definitely not surprised. I kind of had this feeling this whole offseason with the way the whole thing was being handled," Urlacher told WBBM's Jeff Joniak. "We made an offer, the Bears asked us to make an offer early, so we did. Never heard back from him. They made an offer, we responded to their offer and it was more like an ultimatum is what it was 'sign this contract or we are going to move on' and I didn't feel like that was the direction I wanted to go."

When asked what he would miss the most about playing for the Bears, Urlacher said,"The number one thing is my teammates. I am going to miss them the most."

Urlacher, 34, was drafted by the Bears ninth overall in 2000 and spent 13 seasons with the team, earning eight Pro Bowl nominations. He was also an integral part of the team's Super Bowl run during the 2006 season.

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

Injuries stunted Urlacher's play over the last two seasons, as the linebacker missed four games in 2012 with a hamstring injury.

Urlacher said that his favorite memory of playing for the Bears was, "Winning the 2006 NFC Championship, not even close. Standing up there on that stage with Coach Smith and all my teammates that was definitely my favorite thing."

In 182 games with the Bears, Urlacher registered 41.5 sacks, 1,052 tackles and 22 interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

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