NFL: Brian Urlacher leaves Chicago Bears in row over 'insulting' new contract offer
Last Updated: 26/03/13 11:20pm
Brian Urlacher: Spent 13 seasons with the Bears
Veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher has parted company with Chicago and hit out at the Bears over their "insulting" offer of a new contract.
The 34-year-old was out of contract at the end of last season - his 13th with the club - but he described the offer of a new one-year $2million deal as "a slap in the face".
The eight-time Pro Bowl star was holding out for a two-year contract worth around $11.5m, but the Bears management stood their ground and then rejected a proposal from Urlacher's agents of a one-year, $3.5m deal.
"It wasn't even an offer, it was an ultimatum," said Urlacher, who earned $7.5m last season. "I feel like I'm a decent football player still. It was insulting, somewhat of a slap in the face.
"They came back with the offer and said, 'This is what it is, take it or leave it.' It was, 'If you want to play for the Bears, you'll play for this. If not, then you're not playing for the Bears'."
"This whole offseason, I had a bad feeling about this situation anyway. I wanted to be here. I wanted to be in Chicago. I wanted to finish my career here. Now, it's not possible.
"Don't get me wrong, $2m is a lot of money. But I'm not going to put my body through what it goes through during the season for that amount of money. Not for anybody. Not at this point of my career. It's not worth it."
Bears general manager Phil Emery confirmed Urlacher's release in a statement which read: "We were unable to reach an agreement with Brian, and both sides have decided to move forward.
"Brian has been an elite player for over a decade. He showed great leadership and helped develop a winning culture with the Bears. We appreciate all he has given our team, and he will always be welcome as a member of the Bears."