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Sports

May 23, 2013

Bears LB Urlacher announces retirement

CHICAGO — Brian Urlacher wasn’t sure how dominant he could be any longer, so he’s calling it a career after 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears.

And what a career it was:

Eight Pro Bowl seasons;

Defensive Player of the Year in 2005

A trip to the Super Bowl as 2006 NFC champion.

And now, it’s over. The eight-time Pro Bowler announced his retirement through social media accounts Wednesday.

“After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire,” Urlacher said in a statement. “Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards. When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear.

“I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way. I will miss my teammates, my coaches and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets.”

Urlacher was the face of the Bears, and he ranks among the best middle linebackers to suit up for a franchise with an impressive list that includes Hall of Famers Bill George, Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary.

“Great player... Great teammate... Awesome person!!!!” receiver Earl Bennett wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

In March, Urlacher and the Bears were unable to reach a contract agreement and he became a free agent.

He started 180 games from 2000-2012, and made a team-record 1,779 tackles. He has 41 1/2, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles.

Last year, he was slowed by a knee problem and then missed the final four games with a hamstring injury.

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