The eight-time Pro Bowler announced his retirement through social media accounts Wednesday. In a statement, he says ''after spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire.''
Urlacher was the face of the Bears' franchise and leaves as one of the game's great linebackers. In March, he and the Bears were unable to reach a contract agreement and he became a free agent.
"Although I could continue playing, I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that's up to my standards," he said in the statement. "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.
"I would like 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 regrets."
He started 180 games from 2000 through 2012, and recorded a team-record 1,779 tackles. He has 41 1/2 sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles. He was the AP's defensive player of the year in 2005 and helped lead the 2006 team to the Super Bowl.
Last year, he was slowed by injuries.
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