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Brian Urlacher, a throwback player, retires in a thoroughly modern way

Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher yells while

Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher yells while watching from the bench during the fourth quarter of a game against the Tennessee Titans. (Nov. 4, 2012) Credit: AP

Brian Urlacher was considered to be a throwback player, the kind who could have excelled in any era. He chose to retire in a very 21st Century way, though. Through Twitter.

The linebacker who spent his career with the Bears until he was released earlier this offseason posted his decision on the social media site this morning.

"After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire," Urlacher wrote in the statement posted on Twitter. "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.”

Urlacher, who will turn 35 later this week, was the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year in 2000 and its defensive player of the year in 2005. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler – only Mike Singletary (10) and Walter Payton (9) went to more as a Bear – and the team’s all-time leader in tackles (1,779). He is one of four players to post 40 or more sacks and 20 or more interceptions since 1982, when sacks became an official NFL statistic, and one of only two to do so with the same team. The other also retired after the 2012 season: Ray Lewis. His 22 interceptions are the third-most among linebackers since 2000.

“I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way," Urlacher wrote in his statement. "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."

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