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Brian Urlacher Career Stats

No longer is it the guy with the glowering mug and the bald dome.

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Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesBrian Urlacher was an eight-time Pro Bowler in his 13 seasons in Chicago.

It went official Wednesday evening, the moment some thought would never come, at least until next year. The face of the franchise, a designation that implies a mixture of experience and respect, Brian Urlacher, is gone, a victim of his own pride over what he called "somewhat" of a face slap of a contract offer.

This wasn't a surprise, but it's jarring to think about a Bears team without its middle linebacker. Feel free to take some time to drink in his career. Urlacher was the heir to a rich tradition at middle linebacker, the next generation of Butkus and Singletary. He was ornery and violent and liked to have a good time, and maybe he was a bit of a meathead. He was not a poet in cleats.

Chicago is a middle linebacker kind of town. Hey, even some of our quarterbacks threw like linebackers.

Thirteen years is a long time, though, enough for Urlacher to go from New Mexico athletic freak drafted ninth overall in 2000 to elder statesman with a fading gait. It was time. What would one more year have accomplished? With change all over George Halas' franchise, it's time to move forward.

To someone in their 30s, 2000 seems like just yesterday. But that's like four NFL lifetimes. Remember when barbed-wire tattoos were cool? Urlacher does.

They talk about Father Time in the NFL like he's the Grim Reaper, the Turk waiting to end your career. And Father Time Death Turk came for Urlacher on a very cold first day of spring.

Will this be a rebirth for the Bears' defense or the start of a decay? Too soon to tell.

What we do know is that without an unlikely change of heart on both sides, there's no more 54 in the middle of the Lovie Smith Memorial 4-3 Defense. No more Urlacher backpedaling or exploding, rerouting passes and whooping it up on the sidelines.

When it ends in the NFL, it ends. A Hall of Fame career doesn't get you much at first except a one-year deal that maxed out at $2 million, a tweet from the team account and a slapdash goodbye press release. There will be no goodbye tour. This isn't baseball.

Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune that the Bears gave him an ultimatum - $1 million guaranteed with the potential to double it. He left it and will try to play somewhere else.

It's easy for me to say that sounds like a fair deal - he won't break the bank on the open market - but Urlacher had every right to demand what he deemed a respectful contract.

That doesn't mean the Bears should have to give it to him. Just another reminder the NFL is a cold-hearted business.

"It wasn't even an offer, it was an ultimatum, " Urlacher told the Tribune. "I feel like I'm a decent football player still. It was insulting, somewhat of a slap in the face."

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Popular Q&A

PM ET are fred taylor and brian Urlachers careers over?

I wouldn't think so. Be surprised if that was the case.

What are brian urlachers stats?

In 2008, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher had 93 tackles and 2 interceptions. He had 0 sacks.

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