Free-agent linebacker Brian Urlacher said Thursday that he thinks the Chicago Bears have been insincere about their desire to want him back next season, a day after the team announced it would part ways with its longtime middle linebacker.
Urlacher told ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” that he wanted to finish his career as a Bear, a feeling he said wasn’t reciprocated from the organization.
“The Bears kept saying, ‘We want to make Brian a Bear, retire a Bear. Blah, blah, blah.’ It was all lip service in my mind,” Urlacher said. “They said that, but they never acted on it. It was like they all had a handbook on how to handle the situation they passed out around there.”
According to ESPN, the Bears offered a one-year, $2 million contract, which Urlacher countered with a one-year, $3.5 million offer. But Urlacher said the Bears came back and said their original proposal was a “take it or leave it” proposition.
“It was kind of an ultimatum. Either sign this or leave. That’s the way it was. They never moved off their initial offer,” Urlacher said.
“Honestly, I had a feeling during the whole offseason that something like this would happen,” he added. “I told my agent — I said I just don’t think they want me back.”
The 34-year-old Urlacher said he has not thought about retiring, but it’s not clear which teams are interested at this point. Urlacher tore his left PCL in the 2011 season finale, something from which he said his knee would likely never fully recover from the injury. He also missed the final four games of last season after suffering a hamstring injury in early December.
In 12 games last season, Urlacher had 68 tackles, the lowest full-season total of his career. He added two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception.