Retired Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher said he'll be rooting for his former team next season because he still has a lot of good friends left on the squad, but the potential Hall of Fame linebacker said with a tongue-in-cheek tone that his loyalty may have a limit.
"I'm going for them," he said during a radio interview for NFL.com. "A lot of my friends are still on the team. A lot of my good friends, guys I've played with for 10-11 years, so I'm still rooting for them. I hope they do well.
"They better not win a championship without me, because I'll be really (ticked)."
Urlacher, 35, spent all 13 seasons of his NFL career with the Bears. The parting wasn't entirely amicable as Urlacher, whose contract expired after last season, wanted to continue playing for the Bears. Urlacher's side made a contract offer, the Bears counter-offered, and after Urlacher's camp tried to continue negotiating the Bears issued a press release that the two sides were moving on in different directions.
Urlacher said he would have appreciated a call from someone in the organization after such a long and distinguished career with the Bears. Team chairman George McCaskey later called Urlacher, saying he wanted to let emotions cool off first.
The relationship between the franchise and one of its greatest players appears to have been on the mend since, and it's not likely to be affected by Urlacher's dry sense of humor. It's likely many will accept that it's human nature for someone to hope his former team does not do better without him. Urlacher played in just one Super Bowl with the Bears, losing to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
"(If they do well) I'll be happy for them," Urlacher said. "Like I said, I have a lot of good friends on the team, but I don't want them to go to the Super Bowl without me."