It was odd, to say the least, to see the Bears issue a press release proclaiming the pulling of the plug on their relationship with linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Why not just leave the one-year, $2 million offer on the table and wait for someone else to offer more?
Like many teams who want to close the door on a legendary player, the Bears surely prefer that Urlacher play neither for them nor for anyone else. The Packers weren’t able to pull that off with Brett Favre, and the Colts couldn’t do it with Peyton Manning. Could Chicago do it with their iconic defensive captain?
In this specific case, the Bears’ offer resides at a minimum in the fringes of the ballpark for an aging middle linebacker. It’s entirely possible that no other team will be offering substantially more. If that’s the case, how can Urlacher join any other team while still saving face?
“It wasn’t really an offer,” Urlacher recently told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “It was either sign or we don’t want you. . . . Which is a lot of money, don’t get me wrong, but for me to go through a season, put my body through what it goes through during a season at my age, I’m not going to play for that, you know, not for the Bears at least.”
That last part suggests Urlacher perhaps would play for that little for someone else. Still, it will be a big and bitter pill for Urlacher to take far less than the $5.5 million per year he claims his side offered.
Which means that Urlacher could end up walking away. Which means that the Bears may have stumbled across the secret sauce for keeping Urlacher from playing for them — or for anyone else.