Bears part ways with veteran LB Urlacher after 13 years - FOX 35 News Orlando

Urlacher: Bears offer was more of an `ultimatum`

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Bears are parting ways with veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher after 13 years.

General manager Phil Emery said Wednesday that the team couldn't agree on a contract with Urlacher, for years the heart and face of the franchise. He is now a free agent after missing the last four games of the season with a hamstring injury.

SEE: Urlacher on Bears future: `Whatever happens, happens`: EXCLUSIVE

"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 statement. "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."

Urlacher told FOX 32's Lou Canellis in an exclusive television interview that he's not surprised it came to this.

"I kinda had a feeling it was going to go in this direction. I think if the Bears wanted me back, it would have gotten done a lot sooner," Urlacher said.

"There was really no offer made," he added. "It was kind of an ultimatum, you know, that they gave me. Here's what we have for you. Sign it or not. So, we're moving on from there."

Urlacher said that his initial offer was around $5.5 million per year for two years but the Bears came back with a counter-offer of one year, $2 million. Ultimately, he says, he would have settled on $3.5 million a year, but that agreement was never reached.

"We expected they would maybe meet somewhere in the middle," Urlacher told FOX 32. "It just never worked out."

"I figured right when the season was over, it might go this way with the new GM in last year, new coaches," he said. "Maybe this is easier, because now the new head coach can do what he wants to do. I have no hard feelings for anyone in the organization. It just didn't work out."

Though, he says he has no bitterness for the team, Brian did say he was a "little frustrated" with how things were handled and wished the team would have been more "honest" through the process.

The eight-time Pro Bowler started 180 games from 2000 through 2012, recording a team-record 1,779 tackles. The ninth overall selection in the 2000 draft has 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles. He was the APs defensive player of the year in 2005.

Chairman Brian McCaskey says the team wished its "humble superstar" the best.

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