Longtime Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher officially retired today as a member of the Green Bay Packers, signing a one-day contract with the team to “go out a winner.”
“I know this may rub some people in the Bears organization the wrong way. And some Bears fans, too, probably,” said Urlacher. “But it’s my right to end my career the way I want to end it, and doing it as a member of the Green Bay Packers — unquestionably the best franchise in the NFC North throughout my career and, really, all of NFC North history — brings me great joy. Not being a member of the Bears on this day is the highlight of my career.”
Urlacher then fought back tears as he spoke about how much it means to him to no longer be a part of the Bears: “You dream of this your whole career but never really believe it could happen,” he said, tears rolling down his cheeks.
The linebacker’s press conference was attended by many Packers players in a sign of respect for all of his accomplishments.
“Brian was one of the greats,” said quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “If the Bears had more players like him, they wouldn’t always be so easy to beat.”
Urlacher said he had a hunch that this is where his career would end following the 2010 NFC Championship Game, which Chicago lost to Green Bay.
“That was my last, best shot at winning a Super Bowl, but the Packers were clearly the better team,” he said. “I would have given anything to be a Packer that day. And, to be honest, pretty much every day before and after that in my career. Again, no offense to the Bears.”
The future Hall of Famer says he plans to be inducted into Canton as a Green Bay Packer and encouraged other Bears to follow his lead.
“You have to do what makes you happy and not worry how fans might react,” said Urlacher. “And if my old Bears teammates are truthful, they’d all rather be on the Packers. I mean, why wouldn’t they? Even Jay Cutler. I’m sure the Packers would be happy to sign him to a one-day contract so he could retire as their third-string quarterback.”