The calendar has flipped from April to May and former Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is still unemployed. I was hoping that after the draft, when the secondary free agent market opened back up, the former face of the Chicago Bears would find a new home. The longer it goes, to more likely it seems that the only football Urlacher will be playing in 2013 will be on his Xbox.
As ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert highlights, the market for past their prime veterans is not looking good as Urlacher and former Packers defensive back Charles Woodson and Lions DE Kyle Vanden Bosh are still on the market.
Here’s what they have to say on Urlacher:
Linebacker Brian Urlacher
Chadiha: “This doesn’t look good for Urlacher at this stage. He may have played his last NFL game.”
Seifert take: Earlier this offseason, the word around the NFL is that Urlacher would play for the Bears or no one else in 2013. The Bears’ final contract offer, one that that didn’t guarantee him much beyond the veteran’s minimum, suggested that the team who knew him best wasn’t very interested. The Minnesota Vikings would be a possibility only if none of their internal candidates, including Erin Henderson, can handle the job.
It’s really a shame if this is how Urlacher’s career ends. A lot of people can blame the Bears for Urlacher’s demise, thinking that the Bears should have just agreed to pay the price Urlacher was seeking as some sort of “lifetime achievement award” for the years of service Urlacher had given the Bears.
Those fans are misguided and don’t have the Bears’ greater good in mind. They have their own sense of nostalgia as a top priority while my top priority is an early February parade and a bright shiny trophy. The Bears had a good sense of Urlacher’s market value and still offered him a lifeline; it was Brian who turned it away and grossly miscalculated.
For those still asking for the Bears to step up and throw Brian a bone and re-offer the deal, you can forget it. The Bears have moved on and so should you. They have signed stop-gap free agents DJ Williams and James Anderson and drafted Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene, who can actually run.
In the meantime, enjoy Urlacher’s career highlight clip that I pulled from YouTube and wait for his eventual enshrinement in Canton:
(Refresh your browser if you don’t see the video box above.)