The Bears Allow Brian Urlacher to Leave

By Nate Schapmann

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NateWhen I first heard the news, I wouldn’t say I was shocked (not even surprised, really) that the Bears couldn’t reach a deal with the 13-year-defensive force Brian Urlacher.  Urlacher has been the constant leader and figurehead on the Bear’s defense since I was five years old, and admittedly, it’s crazy to think of a Chicago Bears team without him.  And still, I’m not surprised by his departure.

We’ve seen the same thing time and again with aging veterans of the league, not just in football, but the other professional sports as well.  These mid-thirty-somethings think they deserve more money than they actually do, and the team wants to get younger rather than get caught in a long term deal with an aging player (see Albert Pujols, Ed Reed.)

I’m not saying that this is one of those situations, since teams like the Bears are never public about contract dealings that go in the front office, but it is a safe bet that it probably is.  Once again, I’m not surprised.

The defense was clearly getting older, and this is a step in the right direction in order to free up salary space for new, younger defensive players.  Now, what I can’t get behind the Bears on is allowing linebacker Nick Roach to go to the Raiders.  He was an integral part of our linebacking corps, and he was only twenty-seven.  And we’ve managed to keep two aging defenseman, Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs.  Not that Peppers and Briggs are sub par players, in fact, as of late, they’ve been much better than the injury-prone Urlacher, I’m just saying that our linebackers are old.

Then again, if we are going to have thirty-three year-olds on the defensive team, I’d rather have them be linebackers than cornerbacks, safeties, or linemen, especially since an older presence on the team can easily gain respect and lead his teammates, and linebackers are usually seen as the quarterbacks of the defense.

But still, they can’t be around forever.  They’re not indispensable, nor are they immortal.  As much as it pains me to see Brian Urlacher go, I know it’s for the best of the team and its future.  Thanks for everything, #54.