The Brian Urlacher fan club is growing by the day, or so it seems. Sunday we heard from chairman George McCaskey while today, Bears president Ted Phillips expressed his desire to see Brian Urlacher end his career as a Chicago Bear:
“The reality is we would like nothing more than for Brian to finish his career as a Bear,” Phillips said from the NFL meetings. “I still remember the day we drafted him. He played safety in college and he’s turned into one of the best middle linebackers and Chicago Bears in history. I hope his career ends with us.”
Here’s the interesting thing about Phillips’ statement, he isn’t saying the Bears want to resign Urlacher per se. He’s simply stating he’d like to see Urlacher end his career in the Orange and Blue. For all we know, that day has already come when #54 limped off the field vs the Seahawks. Maybe Phillips just hopes Urlacher will retire to save everyone the pain and indignation of dragging this out. Maybe I’m reading between the lines a little too closely, maybe I’m just hoping this standoff comes to a conclusion one way or another.
Steve Rosenbloom pretty much hits the nail on the head when he states that this tip-toeing around is actually the disrespect the Bears claim they were hoping to avoid.
Fact is, the Bears are disrespecting Urlacher — and themselves — by acting weak, saying mindless things, and clearly hoping and praying someone else signs him.
If the Bears had any respect for Urlacher — and themselves — they would’ve already told him they don’t believe he can run and play the way they want and need. The Bears sound mealy-mouthed and look afraid.
It’s time for the Bears and Urlacher to come to a resolution on this. You’re all big boys. Put your cards on the table and make the adult the decision. If Urlacher can still run, he should be back. If he can’t, he should hang up the cleats. No need to lurk around division rivals hoping that will put some public pressure on the Bears to work out a deal and up their price.
The market has pretty much been set and Urlacher isn’t getting the $5.5 million he’s reportedly seeking. Nick Roach got $13 million for 4 years from the Raiders to play middle linebacker. Rey Maualuga got two years for $6.5 million from the Bengals. That seems like market value for middle linebackers who might not be as decorated but can still run and have more left in the tank. That’s about the market price, especially considering no one else is knocking down Urlacher’s door with a deal. Work this out or decide to move on but whatever you do, get it done. Dragging this out just makes everyone look worse.