Ex-Bears LB Brian Urlacher retires

Brian Urlacher retires from NFL

Veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher today announced his retirement from the NFL. Urlacher became a free agent in March after parting ways with the Chicago Bears. (AP File Photo)

On defense, the only starting linebacker returning is Lance Briggs . Veteran free agent acquisition D.J. Williams and second-round draft pick Jon Bostic are expected to compete for the middle linebacker job with Urlacher gone. A safety with lightning speed when he was drafted out of New Mexico, the 6-foot-4 Urlacher initially lined up at strong side linebacker for the Bears, but lost the job to Roosevelt Colvin. He made the switch to middle linebacker during his first season when Barry Minter was injured, and went on to become the 2000 Defensive Rookie of the Year, the start of a long run that saw him anchor a defense that consistently ranked among the league’s best. THE ROAD TO SB XLVIII From the opening kickoff to the Super Bowl, the best NFL action is on FOX.

Retired Urlacher hasn’t missed camp ‘at all’

50 Greatest Bears

“It’s been fun,” Urlacher said about the show. “We’ve had some rehearsals and stuff like that. We have a good bunch of guys on the show. It’s pretty simple. I know a little bit about football so I can get up there and talk for a little bit about it and the guys on there, they bring all the comedic part to it and I will sit there and hang out. It’s fun.” Urlacher downplayed his role on the show. “I’m not a broadcaster, I’m an analyst.

Urlacher, Lewis broke the mold for prototype inside linebackers

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. “I will miss my teammates, my coaches and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field,” Urlacher said.

Image: Brian Urlacher (© Joe Howell/AP)

21, 2007, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) Chicago Bears middle linebacker, and former New Mexico standout Brian Urlacher walks out onto the field at University Stadium on Brian Urlacher Night during halftime of a college football game between Utah and New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006. Urlacher played football at New Mexico from 1996-1999. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf) Chicago Bears middle linebacker, and former New Mexico standout Brian Urlacher walks out onto the field at University Stadium on Brian Urlacher Night during halftime of a college football game between Utah and New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006. Urlacher played football at New Mexico from 1996-1999. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf) Professional football star and former Lobo football player Brian Urlacher attends a news conference at UNM’s Indoor Practice Facility where the field was named the Bran Urlacher Field, photographed Wednesday June 24, 2009. (Pat Vasquez-Cunningham/Journal) Motorists are greeted by a giant image of Brian Urlacher on the ourskirts of Lovington. All Pro Lineback for the Chicago Bears, Brian Urlacher breaks up the pass to Neil Altomare -12 of Albuquerque at the Brian Urlacher Football Camp held at the University of New Mexico.

Former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher retires

The two have been splitting reps equally in training camp, and the contest was so close that both were listed as co-starters for the Bills’ first preseason game. Right now it looks like Brown will get the nod for the regular season, but this battle is so close that it will come down to the final preseason game. Seattle Seahawks :Defensive tackle Seattle has an embarrassment of riches on defense, and that is rearing its head early in training camp. Knee issues forced Alabama’s Jesse Williams to the fifth round, and now he’s getting a chance to compete for the starting under tackle job — which flies in the face of the widely held belief that he’d be a nose tackle in the NFL. Williams is working against Tony McDaniel , who currently has the edge in camp. He spent 2012 with the Miami Dolphins , where he was a rotational tackle who wasn’t asked to make a lot of plays.

Preseason position battles: Is Jonathan Bostic ready to take over for Brian Urlacher?

Players are so much faster and quicker. We even saw a little bit of that same issue with Urlacher and Ray Lewis in recent years. It’s a young man’s position now. It’s tougher to match up with these tight ends and backs when you get older. The legs start to go. In your head and heart you think you can still get there, but the body says ‘Screw it.’ ” Indeed, there were times in recent seasons when Lewis and Urlacher were painfully exposed in pass coverage, with too much open space on the field to account for, and not enough speed to chase down the young and athletic skill-position weapons that enter the league every year. Legs are the indispensable part of an inside linebacker’s game in today’s NFL, and can’t really be compensated for, at least not for long.

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