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Bears, Urlacher part ways

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For more on the NFL, follow Reggie Hayes via Twitter at reggiehayes1.

Longtime linebacker won't be coming back

Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 12:01 am

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears are parting ways with veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher after 13 years.

General Manager Phil Emery said Wednesday that the team couldn't reach a contract agreement with Urlacher, for years the heart and face of the franchise. He is now a free agent after missing the last four games of the season with a hamstring injury.

The eight-time Pro Bowler started 180 games from 2000 through 2012, recording a team-record 1,779 tackles. The ninth overall selection in the 2000 draft has 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles. He was the AP's defensive player of the year in 2005.

Chairman Brian McCaskey says the team wished its “humble superstar” the best.