No new Brian Urlacher deal?

Updated: July 25, 2012, 10:05 AM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery was noncommittal Tuesday on the topic of Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher's contract, which is set to expire after the 2012 season.

The middle linebacker has said on several occasions in the offseason there have been no talks regarding a possible extension, although he wants to remain with the team that drafted him with the No. 9 pick in 2000. Urlacher is set to earn a base salary of $7.5 million in 2012 with a salary cap hit of $9.7 million.

Emery was asked Tuesday if he was content to allow Urlacher to play out the year and test free agency next offseason.

"I'm content to focus on the team's movement toward its goals," Emery said. "Each and every contract situation is unique in of itself, and what we do as a personnel department, along with the coaches, is keep our eyes on the big picture. Our big picture right now is to get on the field and earn our place in the NFL everyday.

"I've had good conversations with Brian. That's a fine human being and obviously one of our top team leaders. Brian Urlacher has been a great Bears (player) and a great NFL football player. So yes, I've talked to him, and I'm excited about Brian and this season and our team."

Urlacher recently told ESPN 1000's "The Waddle and Silvy Show" he does not anticipate negotiating a new deal with the Bears during the regular season.

"I want to be here, no doubt about that," Urlacher said. "(Bears president and CEO) Ted Phillips said at the NFL owners meetings that they are going to wait until the season is over to address my situation. That's the mindset I'm taking into this. When the season is over, then we'll talk about it.

"I'll be a free agent when the season is over and whatever happens, happens. From everything that Ted Phillips said, I'll be a free agent when the season is over. It's a business. That's the risk you take. If you let a player get to free agency, then they can leave. That's their (decision). They can leave if they want to. That's how it goes."

Urlacher was limited to rehab work during the entire offseason program after he damaged the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee when he collided with safety Major Wright while attempting to break up a pass in the end zone on Jan. 1 against the Vikings. But the veteran linebacker is expected to be on the field when the Bears conduct their first non-padded training camp practice on Thursday.

"(We won't be cautious with Brian) at all," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "He's ready to go. We're cautious with players when they're not fit, full speed and ready to go. But once we get them out there ... you know we're never trying to take out any of our players in practice. You have to know how to practice, first off, to try and avoid injuries. I feel like we can do that. If injuries happen, they just kind of happen.

"Brian has missed a lot of time, just like we talked about with Matt Forte, I know he's anxious to get back out there and we're anxious to get him out there."

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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