Saturday, May 25, 2013

Urlacher Retirement: 2013 Off-Season has been the Season for Retiring Legends

Ray Lewis, Matt Birk, Ronde Barber. And now Brian Urlacher.

The long-time Chicago Bears middle linebacker joins the list of this era's living legends to retire from the game this off-season, announcing his official retirement on Wednesday. Urlacher played all 13 of his professional seasons in Chicago, and will retire as the third-best MLB in franchise history (behind Butkus and Singletary).

As a versatile player on the field, Urlacher played multiple positions while playing his college ball at the University of New Mexico, including linebacker, safety, wide receiver and return specialist. The All-American was drafted ninth overall by Chicago in the 2000 NFL draft and ended up winning the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award following his Pro Bowl performance of 125 tackles, 8.0 sacks and two interceptions.

At 6'4"/250 pounds, the eight-time Pro Bowler 'backer was known as a great cover guy throughout his career but was also a feared tackler, chasing down ball-carriers from sideline-to-sideline.

Spread out over 180 career starts, Urlacher's numbers are some of the best you'll see from a middle linebacker during his era (not far behind Baltimore's Lewis), and are consistent across the board: 1,358 combined tackles, 41.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, 15 fumble recoveries, according to
Had Urlacher not missed two games during his rookie campaign, seven during the '04 season, 15 in '09 and four last season, who knows what these numbers could potentially look like. The four-time All Pro was the heart and soul of the Chicago defense during the 2000s––he was named on the league's All-Decade team––and provided veteran leadership to the young guys on the field.

Green Bay Packers All Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers has already come out and said that Urlacher was his favorite opponent and that he'd miss clashing with #54, as well as the banter between the two on the field. I don't feel as though he'd miss being hit by him, however.

With Urlacher's retirement coming the same off-season as Lewis and Ronde Barber, it's very possible that we could end up seeing the three of them being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the same time in 2018. Wouldn't that be something? Each of the three were the face of their respective franchise during the 2000s, and would be welcomed into Canton with open arms.

But the football field will most definitely be missing numbers 52, 20 and 54 once September rolls around.

Additional 2013 retirees:

Donovan McNabb, QB
David Garrard, QB
Matt Birk, C
Rolando McClain, LB
Scott Fujita, LB
Al Harris, CB
Nate Kaeding, K

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Note: Stats according to

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