(CBS) While admitting his messy exit from the franchise following the 2012 season was “frustrating,” former Bears star linebacker Brian Urlacher said he has “no issues” with the organization now and that any comments in his role as an NFL analyst for Fox Sports 1 about the Bears don’t stem from bitter feelings.
“I have a lot of respect for the Bears organization,” Urlacher said during an interview with Matt Spiegel and Jim Miller on 670 The Score on Tuesday morning. “I’ve said that, and I’ll continue to say that because it’s true. The McCaskeys (the owners) were great to me. I have a good relationship with George (McCaskey). I talk to him every once in a while.
“But I have no issues with the Bears. Do I like the way it ended? No. I was mad at the time, I was frustrated, but I’m over it now. I’m glad it worked out the way it did. I’m enjoying retirement.”
Urlacher added he does keep in contact with some former teammates — mostly defensive players like Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman. However, he doesn’t have a relationship with quarterback Jay Cutler, whom Urlacher was never particularly close with during their time together in Chicago.
“The guys I want to talk to, I talk to,” Urlacher said.
Still, Urlacher shot down any notion that the Bears front office wanted to side with Cutler and and give him a leadership role instead of Urlacher.
“I don’t think any one player has that much pull … at least not in the Bears organization,” Urlacher said.
Urlacher has irked some Bears fans — and perhaps the organization too — for comments he’s made since departing after the 2012 season, when he didn’t receive what he viewed as a fair contract offer from Chicago. After the Bears let kick return specialist Devin Hester walk to the Falcons in free agency, Urlacher caused a stir when he said of the franchise, “It’s just the loyalty factor. It’s just not there. He should be a guy that retires as a Bear.”
While Urlacher expressed a similar belief Tuesday that Hester should’ve finished his career in Chicago, it came off more as support for Hester than a shot at the Bears, who he said he has no hard feelings for. If Urlacher’s assessments with FS1 are critical of the Bears, it’s because that’s his football belief, not an agenda, he said.
“I have not been bitter,” Urlacher said.
Listen to the full interview below. Urlacher also addresses his respect for former coach Love Smith, his thoughts on the revamped Bears defense and much more.