Chicago Bears

Brian Urlacher: Bears Should Let Former Star Go to Minnesota Vikings

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 23:  Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears stands on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Bears defeated the Cardinals 28-13.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2013

There were whispers last December that Brian Urlacher may retire this NFL offseason. Now the 34-year-old linebacker is asking for $5.5 million to remain with the Chicago Bears.

Regardless of past history, Urlacher’s price tag may be too sweet. Phil Emery and the Bears organization should let Urlacher walk to the Minnesota Vikings if they’re willing to pay.

The fact of the matter is that the Bears have been shut out of the playoffs for two straight years. Regardless of their strong record both seasons, they went 2-6 against playoff teams last season.

This team needs a fresh start with new blood as it enters its next era under Marc Trestman. They don’t need to be any part of Urlacher’s creaky hamstrings or 35-year-old frame. He missed four games last season, and for him to be at full strength for the next two seasons would be admirable, but unlikely.

As NFL fans, we don’t like seeing players who played for one team all their careers in another uniform. Brian Urlacher has given 13 years to the Chicago Bears, so in effect, the organization should make sure he is a Bear for life. With Ray Lewis going out on top in Baltimore, that sentimental argument seems to have more weight.

But Phil Emery isn’t in the sentimentality business. He’s in the winning business. He wasn’t there when Urlacher started his career and captured Bears fans’ interest. He has been in Chicago, though, where they haven’t been able to make the playoffs in two years with Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and a top-10 defense.

Perhaps it’s time for a new start, as Urlacher's game won’t be getting any better at his $5.5 million dollar price.

Frankly, Urlacher is a stopgap signing instead of the younger, sprier linebacker the Bears need to find sooner rather than later. Emery would be better served this offseason signing that younger talent or drafting a rookie linebacker to start anew.

It may not be the popular move, but once the angst boils over, it will be considered a smart one.

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