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Urlacher retires after 13 years

Published On: May 22 2013 10:57:15 AM CDT   Updated On: May 22 2013 12:21:25 PM CDT
Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears, 2011

Jeff Haynes/Reuters

Longtime Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher announced his retirement after 13 seasons in the NFL on Wednesday with a message on Twitter.

Urlacher walks away from football with a list of accomplishments that include an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, a five-time All-Pro and the 2005 Defensive Player of the Year award.

"Although I could continue playing, I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that's up to my standards," he said. "When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear.

"I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way. I will miss my teammates, my coaches and the great Bears fans. I'm proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets."

The Bears released Urlacher after the 2012 season when they couldn't reach agreement on a new contract. Urlacher became a free agent and apparently was open to offers from other teams but decided to close the curtain on a career what many believe will ultimately win him election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Urlacher, the No. 9 overall draft pick in 2000 by the Bears, played safety in college at New Mexico but moved to linebacker with the Bears and became a defensive force that helped the Bears earn one trip to the Super Bowl.