Former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher didn’t appreciate the way the team treated him in contract negotiations early this year.
Urlacher said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports that the Bears gave him a “take it or leave it” offer and that they were eager to say goodbye when Urlacher didn’t immediately accept.
“I was so mad at the way it was handled, and I thought it was just wrong, the way it all went down,” Urlacher said.
Urlacher said he thinks the Bears had already decided to move on, and that as soon as his agent told them that the “take it or leave it” offer wasn’t what Urlacher was looking for, the Bears immediately put an announcement on Twitter saying that Urlacher’s time with the Bears had come to an end.
“The Bears had a tweet out — I’m not playing — 30 seconds after my agent hung up the phone with him,” Urlacher said. “They had a statement already written saying, ‘He’s not going to be back this year.’”
Urlacher also says Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was the only former teammate who didn’t contact him to wish him well after the Bears and Urlacher parted ways. Cutler confirmed that on Thursday, adding, “I guess I’ll reach out to him.”
Cutler reaching out now probably won’t mean a whole lot. There are obviously some hurt feelings there, and that’s a shame: Urlacher was a great Bear, and he earned the right to retire on his own terms. In a perfect world, Urlacher and the Bears both would have decided together that it was time for him to go, and he could have had a retirement ceremony where he was shown the appreciation he deserves. Unfortunately, the Bears decided to move on before Urlacher was ready to say goodbye.