I haven’t talked to many Chicago Bears fans who feel overjoyed that the Bears are parting ways with long-time middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Yet despite any hard feelings fans may have for the decision, letting go of Urlacher was necessary for the Bears to move forward.
It’s undeniable that Urlacher will go down as one of the best linebackers to ever play for the Bears, which, given the team’s reputation of having great linebackers, is no lighthearted statement. But the organization has changed, and Urlacher isn’t the same player he was in 2006.
Ever since his surgeries for his arthritic back and MCL in 2011, Urlacher’s movement has suffered. He’s still managed to put up acceptable numbers, but anyone who has watched him play the past few years can’t deny the man has lost his step against the league’s top running backs and wide receivers.
I’ll admit it’s not the best timing.
With Urlacher gone, the Bears have lost two starting linebackers this offseason; Nick Roach signing with Oakland being the first. This is, no doubt, going to create some short-term pain for the Bears because I don’t see them replacing the two with a new star linebacker in the immediate future.
That said, it is going to force the organization to scout and find new talent, which will be beneficial to the team in the long-run, and I think the potential benefits of that outweighs the short-term pain.
I’d rather have a team force itself to find new talent, even if it means taking the bullet for releasing a player who they know may very well give you only one more decent season.
Watching the dominance of the 2006 Bears’ defense will always be a favorite sports memory of mine, but living in the past doesn’t win Super Bowls. And if you haven’t noticed, the NFC has only gotten tougher this offseason.
It’s time to move on with a new Bears team to combat the new NFC.