A four-time All Pro who was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, Urlacher helped the Bears win four division titles and one NFC Conference title. His eight Pro Bowls are tied for third most in franchise history behind Hall of Famers Mike Singletary (10) and Walter Payton (9).
"After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire," Urlacher said in a statement he posted on Twitter Wednesday. "Although I could continue playing, I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that's up to my standards. When considering this along with the fact 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 regret."
In 68 games vs. the Lions, Packers and Vikings, Urlacher amassed almost 500 tackles and chipped in 18.5 sacks and 52 tackles for loss.
“He was a guy that you respected from a coaching standpoint because of what he could do on the field,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said when asked Wednesday about his retirement. “I know he was respected by players and among his peers.
“Different kind of linebacker, you know? There are not many guys who are 6-4 playing middle linebacker. It’s generally a position that shorter guys have had a lot more success, guys like Mike Singletary, who probably wasn’t six-feet tall, Ray Lewis about the same way. But Urlacher, in a lot of ways, changed the position.
“His range at the middle linebacker position, the speed that he played with, he was super fast. The guy played free safety in college, had a long career, was a turnover machine. You were always worried about him and where he was on the field, the turnovers he could create, the way he could change a game. He was good for the NFL. He was good for the game of football and it’s been a great career for him.”
It’s probably safe to say that Schwartz is glad to see him call it a career, strictly from a competitive standpoint.
Urlacher vs. Lions (Source: Stats, LLC)
Urlacher vs. Packers (Source: Stats, LLC)
Urlacher vs. Vikings (Source: Stats, LLC)