(CBS) Former linebacker and future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher spent his entire 13-year career with the Bears.
But it’s the final few moments of that illustrious career that are bothering No. 54.
Speaking with Yahoo! reporter Graham Bensinger, Urlacher explained why he was “so mad” about the way the Bears franchise handled his exit.
Urlacher said he felt the Bears never actually wanted him back and only made him an offer out of pity.
“I just wish they would’ve said, ‘Hey, we have this amount of money for you. It’s all we can pay you. We want you back. We want to bring a young guy in behind you – maybe he’ll start, but we want you on our team. If you’re going to retire, we want you to retire here. This will be your last year, but it’s all we can pay you.’ I think that would have been a more respectable way to handle it. I probably actually would’ve stayed.
“Honestly, I probably would’ve stayed another year there, but I was just so mad at the way it was handled and the way it all went down.”
Urlacher said once his agent rejected the Bears offer, the team immediately sent out their press release announcing the two sides would be parting ways.
“The Bears had a tweet out 30 seconds after my agent hung up the phone. … In essence, they had a statement already written.”
Urlacher thinks maybe he was treated this way because he wasn’t one of new GM Phil Emery’s “guys.”
“I never got to be a free agent before,” he said. “Past management always took care of it early so it didn’t get to that point. It didn’t happen with the new GM that way, which is fine. Maybe I wasn’t one of his guys or (I was) someone he didn’t want around. That’s fine. I just wish they would’ve told me what was going on the whole time instead of beating around the bush.”
So how does he want his career with the Bears to be remembered?
“I felt like I was a good teammate and that’s how I want to be remembered,” Urlacher said. “All the other stuff – playing, winning games, losing games – that’s never been an issue. I want to be remembered as a good teammate and guy that my teammates could count on.”