ALLEN PARK — After Chicago's Brian Urlacher announced his retirement on Wednesday, the Lions had nothing but good things to say about the Bears’ long-time middle linebacker.
— Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch said: “I played against him numerous times, I would clown around with him before and after the game. phenomenal player. You speak about a guy who came out of New Mexico as a safety and moved to middle linebacker and dominated the position for so many years. Eight-time Pro Bowler, 13-year pro, a guy I looked up to, a magnificent athlete. The game is definitely going to be different without him. ... He definitely made his mark in the NFL.’’
— Coach Jim Schwartz said: “A great player in the NFL. You know, he was a really good competitor. He was a guy that you respected from a coaching standpoint because of what he could do on the field. I know he was respected by players and among his peers. Different kind of linebacker, you know? There are not many guys who are 6-4 playing middle linebacker. It’s generally a position that shorter guys have had a lot more success, guys like Mike Singletary, who probably wasn’t six-feet tall, Ray Lewis about the same way. But Urlacher, in a lot of ways, changed the position. His range at the middle linebacker position, the speed that he played with, he was super fast. The guy played free safety in college, had a long career, was a turnover machine. You were always worried about him and where he was on the field, the turnovers he could create, the way he could change a game. He was good for the NFL. He was good for the game of football and it’s been a great career for him.”
Urlacher’s knees started slowing him down in 2009. He could find no home as a free agent this offseason.
He left the game quietly (like Lions left tackle Jeff Backus), issuing this statement: “I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance of passion that is 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. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets."