He is arguably the best player in Chicago Bears history, for all intents and purposes.
The Pro Bowls. The defensive player of the year awards. The lumbering interception returns playing on a bad hamstring and a bad ankle, the jaw-dropping speed showcased from sideline to sideline when an opposing foe was foolish enough to try an outside run to either side of the field.
Number 54, Brian Urlacher. The face of the Bears franchise for 13 years.
All of this is true. We should be thankful for it.
And yet, it’s just time for him to go away. At least for the time being.
In a week where the Bears are coming off an exceptional first performance against AFC power Cincinnati Bengals, the focus should be on a week 2 showdown with the division rival Minnesota Vikings. Instead, we find ourselves talking about an interview Urlacher had earlier in the week, where he sounded like a bitter ex-girlfriend pining for its former love to give her an another chance.
In case you missed it, Urlacher stated how he believes he would still be a Bear if the organization would have handled contract negotiations and how Jay Cutler never called him following his retirement.
Honestly, I probably would’ve played another year there if that’s the way it would’ve been handled,” Urlacher told ESPN Chicago. “But I was so mad at the way it was handled. I thought it was just wrong the way it all went down.”
As the Bears continue to move on with a new identity (new head coach in Marc Trestman, new best player in Brandon Marshall) Urlacher continues to live in the past. The article states how Urlacher was upset when the Bears traded Kyle Orton and draft picks for Cutler. Admire his pride, but diminish his credibility for being naiive. Think what you want about Cutler, but not understanding that an offense needs to put points on the board in order to win a Super Bowl is downright foolish.
Sorry, Brian, but this isn’t the 1980’s NFL. Veterans, such as yourself, are expendable. The Bears nabbed your replacement (and while D.J. Williams is not of the caliber of Urlacher, he’s not that far off. I was shocked when I looked at it too, but check out his numbers in Denver) for under a million dollars. The Bears offered Urlacher twice that.
And obviously, quarterbacks are at a premium. The Bears would have been foolish not to pursue a then-25-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback when Cutler was available. Urlacher was sour about it then, and then appears to want Cutler to lay down the red carpet for his departure.
“Well, I did not hear from Jay, out of all the guys I played with, but that’s just — maybe we weren’t as close as, like you said, as we could have been,” Urlacher said in the same interview. “That’s just the way to let you know where you stand with people. But it’s not his job to text me, maybe that’s not his thing. That’s fine. That’s the way it is.
By most media accounts, Cutler and Urlacher’s relationship improved as their time as teammates wore on.
Still, it seems a bit hypocritical for Urlacher to really be upset about something as petty as a phone call from his ex-quarterback. For better or worse, the team is now Cutler’s. For the first time in 13 years, Urlacher no longer has the right to say that
Is it possible that this is what all the commotion is about? Just come out and say it next time, Brian.
No. 54 will be forever appreciated by the city of Chicago and Bears fans everywhere.
But in the near future, Brian. Understand that this isn’t about you. The Bears need to create a new identity at some point, and as is said at some point in all breakups: You should really just want what’s best for your former love.