Urlacher not impressed with the way in which he leaves the franchise.
After 13 seasons together, the Chicago Bears will be moving forward without legendary linebacker Brian Urlacher next season.
The two parties failed to reach an agreement on a new deal on Wednesday, with the Bears later announcing that the 34-year-old will not be at Solider Field next season.
Urlacher has spent his entire NFL career in Chicago, and is considered one of the greatest linebackers in franchise history. He made the Pro Bowl eight times and won the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2005.
However, that wasn’t enough to agree on a new contract, with the player left somewhat dismayed by the manner in which the team dealt with him.
“We were unable to reach an agreement with Brian and both sides have decided to move forward,” Bears general manager Phil Emery said in a statement as reported by NFL.com.
“We appreciate all he has given our team, on and off the field. Brian will always be welcome as a member of the Bears.”
A slow decline in speed and physicality has led the Bears to decide against extending his stay further, and it now remains to be seen whether Urlacher looks for a new team or calls time on his career.
However, he appeared to be upset with the decision, particularly over the way the contract negotiations were handled. Urlacher made $7.5m last season, while the Bears offered him a one-year deal worth just $2m this time round.
“It wasn’t even an offer, it was an ultimatum. I feel like I’m a decent football player still. It was insulting, somewhat of a slap in the face,” he told the Chicago Tribune.
“I wanted to be here. I wanted to be in Chicago. I wanted to finish here. Now, it’s not possible.
“There are no hard feelings between me and the Bears organization. I’m going to miss the hell out of my team-mates. I had a great run here,” he concluded.
The disappointment of his departure was noticeable in interviews with his Bears team-mates following the announcement, but Urlacher is adamant he still has some football left in him.
His agents have been in contact with the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals, with the player keen to join a side with a chance to win.