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Friday, May 24, 2013
Bears place ads to thank Urlacher

By ESPNChicago.com

The Chicago Bears took out full-page ads in two Chicago newspapers to thank linebacker Brian Urlacher, who announced his retirement Wednesday after 13 seasons.

"Few play for a storied franchise. Even fewer write their own chapter. Thanks, Brian," the ad in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times read.

The Bears announced March 20 that they were not able to agree to a contract with Urlacher, an eight-time Pro Bowler and face of the franchise. Urlacher was bothered that he didn't receive a call from anyone in the organization to give him the news before the team issued a press release announcing the split.

Bears president George McCaskey said April 2 that he eventually did talk to Urlacher and said the linebacker was "gracious" during their conversation.

"I wanted to wait a little bit because I figured there would be a little emotion. But Brian knows how we feel about him. He's one of the all-time great Bears," McCaskey said. "(He) continued the outstanding linebacker legacy at the Bears. He's going to be in the Hall of Fame, and when he is, everyone is going to think of him as a Chicago Bear."

On Wednesday, after tweeting out his retirement announcement, Urlacher said emotion was behind those comments in the days after the Bears moved on.

"Everything is fine. Of course I was (ticked) when that happened," Urlacher said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "I felt like I deserved better, and I just wish they would have been honest with me. If someone would have told me, 'Hey, you know what, we want you here but we want you here for this number. We don't want your agent to make an offer. Here's what we have to offer you. We want to get younger, but we want to keep you here for another year or two, maybe see what happens if you play well.'

"That was never a discussion. ... I felt like it was kind of beating around the bush there, and if they had been honest and straightforward with me that would have been great. I think it would have been a lot easier to make that decision, but they weren't so it kind of (ticked) me off. But I'm good. Ninety-nine percent of the people in that building (Halas Hall) I respect, I have the utmost respect for. There's one person I could really take or leave."