After 13 years in the NFL as one of the most dominant middle linebackers in the history of the game, former Chicago Bears star Brian Urlacher has retired from the league, according to his Twitter account:
Brian Urlacher @BUrlacher54
It was an honor to play my entire career for the @ChicagoBears http://t.co/An45gL7Rcq5/22/2013, 3:03:01 PM
The veteran was a staple of the Bears defense for years and one of the most feared players to ever step onto a football field. With unwavering passion, it was clear from Urlacher’s statement that he didn’t believe he had the same drive he regularly displayed throughout his shining career (h/t ESPN's Kevin Seifert):
Kevin Seifert @SeifertESPN
Urlacher very honest in statement. Says: "I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that's up to my standards."5/22/2013, 3:06:51 PM
Although Urlacher struggled at times during the last few years of his career, he will mostly be regarded for his consistency in his prime that helped him earn eight Pro Bowl selections and the 2005 AP Defensive Player of the Year award.
Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp came out in support of his defensive brethren:
Warren Sapp @WarrenSapp
I like it Brain! 13 & done!!5/22/2013, 3:19:19 PM
ESPN’s Mike Greenberg believes Urlacher deserves to be enshrined in Canton:
Mike Greenberg @Espngreeny
See you in the hall of fame, Brian. Well done. RT @BUrlacher54: Was an honor to play entire career for @ChicagoBears http://t.co/PozkFlBi4U5/22/2013, 3:20:31 PM
As one of the most feared men in football for the better part of a decade, Matt Murschel of the Sun Sentinel talked about how Urlacher embodied Chicago’s spirit:
Matt Murschel @osmattmurschel
Sad to see @BUrlacher54 announce his retirement. He embodied the true Monster of the Midway spirit.5/22/2013, 3:17:51 PM
Urlacher’s numbers are incredible, as ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright pointed out:
Michael C. Wright @mikecwright
Urlacher is one of four players w/40+ sacks, 20+ INTs since 1982, when sacks became an official stat.5/22/2013, 3:20:20 PM
Brad Biggs @BradBiggs
Brian Urlacher's retirement announcement comes 3 days shy of his 35th birthday.5/22/2013, 3:19:05 PM
As hard as it will be to see Urlacher walk away from football, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller talked about why this retirement hurts even more this year:
Matt Miller @nfldraftscout
In one offseason the NFL lost two of the best MLBs of this era—Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher. The Patrick Willis-era has begun.5/22/2013, 3:08:47 PM
CSN Chicago's Pat Boyle mentioned the dilemma facing Hall of Fame voters in the future:
Pat Boyle @CSNBoyle
This puts Urlacher & Ray Lewis on same HOF ballot.. Do 2 MLB's get in the same year? #bearstalk5/22/2013, 3:25:40 PM
Bleacher Report lead writer Adam Kramer touched on Urlacher's incredible college career:
Adam Kramer @KegsnEggs
In college, Urlacher had 442 tackles, 11 sacks and 11 forced fumbles. He also caught six TDs and RETURNED FIVE KICKS FOR TDS.5/22/2013, 3:13:07 PM
While the sports world is sad today, Faux John Madden reminded us all that we need to laugh a bit and appreciate the legendary career of Urlacher:
The Arizona Cardinals also got in on the fun, giving Urlacher a sendoff worthy of Denny Green.
Arizona Cardinals @AZCardinals
You were who we thought you were. Congrats. RT @BUrlacher54: It was an honor to play my entire career for the @ChicagoBears.5/22/2013, 4:56:14 PM
Urlacher racked up 1,353 combined tackles, 41.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 22 interceptions and two defensive touchdowns during his tenure in Chicago, and while those numbers are impressive, it’s the legacy he left on the NFL for which he will be remembered.
The NFL will feel odd this year without Urlacher on the field.
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