Former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher retires

Urlacher finished with four tackles and four pass deflections. "I just remember winning the game at home, we were holding the Halas Trophy and the snow was coming down on the platform with all my teammates standing there," Urlacher said. "I remember Lovie (Smith) and coach (Ron) Rivera being up there with us. I remember Rex Grossman being up there with us. I mean, we're holding the trophy with snow coming down. It was perfect." 2. Colts 29, Bears 17, Super Bowl XLI (Feb. 4, 2007): The Bears left the snow in Chicago for rain in Miami, then got drenched by the Colts.

Brian Urlacher retirement: Is he a first-ballot Hall of Famer?

"Although I could continue playing, I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance of passion that' sup to my standards," said in a statement posted to his Twitter account. "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." RANKINGS: How does Urlacher stack up? Urlacher, who will turn 35 on Saturday, was the No. 9 pick in the 2000 draft and became the Bears' starting middle linebacker early in his rookie season. He defined the position, along with Baltimore's Ray Lewis, for the next decade. Urlacher was named to eight Pro Bowls, was a five-time All Pro selection and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. It's possible Urlacher and Lewis could enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame together. Urlacher struggled to stay healthy the past few years, with a dislocated wrist in 2009, a knee injury late in 2011 and a hamstring injury that kept him out of the final month of last season.

For decades, through the legions of great middle linebackers named Chuck Bednarik and Willie Lanier and Joe Schmidt and Dick Butkus and Harry Carson and Mike Singletary and Ray Lewis, the position was defined by brutality. Maybe no other position embraced nastiness and sheer cruelty like the middle linebacker spot -- and I mean that in a good way. Urlacher was all of these things. Like Lewis, he used speed to enhance his brutality, and during the 2000s, he embraced wholeheartedly the idea of trying to disembowel opponents -- and I mean that in a good way. In many ways, what Urlacher represents is the last of a breed, as well as the last of an era. Oh, sure, football is still a blatantly violent sport, and there are still true nasties like Patrick Willis. But football has changed even in the short time from 2000-10 when Urlacher was truly dominant. Rules changes have softened the position. Not just from the days when Butkus would grab runners by the neck and throw them into the bench, but from just a few years ago.

Urlacher open to TV analyst role

Regarding Urlacher, the answer is an unequivocal yes. During his 13 seasons, no one played middle linebacker like he did. Some might've played it a bit more consistently (Ray Lewis), but no one made more key plays while serving as the focal point of a scheme than Urlacher. Urlacher provided the blueprint for Tampa 2 linebackers. He was the face of his team, and the way he played influenced his teammates to follow suit. For more than a decade, stellar play was a given in the middle in Chicago.

Brian Urlacher: One of last great linebacking headbangers

"If I could have picked a spot, it would have been Dallas," said Urlacher, who grew up a Cowboys fans. "They run our defense. They took our d-coordinator (Rod Marinelli). That would have been ideal. But they have two really good young linebackers." Urlacher, who turns 35 Saturday, is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2018. There has been talk of whether hell be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. "Its not up to me," Urlacher said of the Hall of Fame. "My resume is out there. I dont think it matters how you get in, honestly.

Brian Urlacher's Hall of Fame bid: Is Chicago Bears icon a lock?

Related Stories Fantasy Football Tuesday: Breaking down Bears at Niners Its one-and-done for Brian Urlacher . One team, that is. After 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears, the 34-year-old linebacker announced Wednesday that he has decided to retire from the NFL. Urlacher announced his decision on Twitter. After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire. Although I could continue playing, Im not sure I would bring a level of performance of passion thats up to my standards, Urlacher said in a written statement he shared with his 122,000-plus Twitter followers.. 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. Urlacher, a free agent, has struggled with knee injuries of late and did not garner much attention on the free agent market. He sprained his medial collateral ligament and partially sprained the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the 2011 regular-season finale against Minnesota and hasnt been the same since then. Urlacher barely participated in training camp last year, had an arthroscopic procedure in mid-August to relieve the swelling, and spent most of the season trying to regain his old form.

Brian Urlacher retires after 13 seasons with NFLs Bears

There are multiple answers to that question. On one hand, his credentials line up with what makes a first-ballot Hall of Famer. On the other hand, there will be some heavy competition when Urlacher's name first comes up for vote. Longtime Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis also retired this season. Lewis has a pair of Super Bowls to his name, which is where he has a definite leg up on Urlacher. Whoever you think was better in their prime is inconsequential to the argument, as Lewis has as many Pro Bowls as Urlacher does seasons in the NFL.