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A farewell that's tough to bear

Urlacher another casualty of an NFL system that shows no mercy -- even for icons

Updated: March 21, 2013, 10:46 PM ET
By Michael Wilbon | ESPNChicago.com

It's a surprise when it ends amicably in the NFL, when the Hall of Fame-bound superstar finishes his career with the same team he led for a dozen or so years. Professional sports, all of them, are big and often nasty business. But this is what the NFL does more ruthlessly, more callously than the others: discard great players, show them the door with barely a handshake, much less a hug.

At least Brian Urlacher is in great company, with Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and, well, the ...

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