Brian Urlacher is leaving the Chicago Bears after both sides were unable to reach an agreement on a free-agent deal. The 34-year-old linebacker has played all 13 seasons with the team.
“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.
“Brian has been an elite player in our league for over a decade. He showed great leadership and helped develop a winning culture over his time with the Bears. We appreciate all he has given our team, on and off the field. Brian will always be welcome as a member of the Bears.”
Urlacher injured his knee in the 2011 season finale and underwent at least one procedure during last offseason.
He barely participated in training camp and spent part of the regular season trying to regain his Pro Bowl form.
Despite the challenge, Urlacher made 68 tackles in 12 games. He suffered a hamstring injury on Dec. 2 and missed the last four games of the regular season.
But Urlacher maintained after the season that he still had football left in him and he has posted photos on his Twitter account of him working out and looking forward to next season.
Urlacher has said he would have accepted less money than he made last season because of his age.
“Over the last 13 years Brian Urlacher has been an outstanding player, teammate, leader and face of our franchise,” Bears chairman George McCaskey said in a statement.
“As Bears fans, we have been lucky to have such a humble superstar represent our city. He embodies the same characteristics displayed by the Bears all-time greats who played before him and he will eventually join many of them in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We thank Brian for all he has given our team and our city. He will always be a part of the Bears family. We wish him the very best.”