Chicago Bears star linebacker Brian Urlacher announces retirement from NFL after 13 seasons

CHICAGO - Star linebacker Brian Urlacher says he's retiring after spending 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears.

The eight-time Pro Bowler announced his retirement through social media accounts Wednesday.

He tweeted "It was an honor to play my entire career for the @ChicagoBears" from his twitter account @BUrlacher54 Wednesday morning.

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.

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. He posted 68 tackles in 12 games with the Bears in 2012.

Urlacher was the Bears 1st round pick and 9th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft from the University of New Mexico.

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