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CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 23: Brian Urlacher #54 and Israel Idonije #71 of the Chicago Bears celebrate a sack. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Though every one of Brian Urlacher's teammates in Chicago knew that he was without a contract after the season ended, they were still shocked and dismayed when they learned he was no longer a Bear.
Israel Idonije was en route to Africa. When he heard the news, he was shocked and told NBC Chicago Urlacher was willing to work with team.
"It's a shame. I know Brian was willing to make it work!! Shame!!!!"
Several other players took to social media to talk about how they would miss Urlacher.
"One of the greatest players ever to wear a Bears uniform....#54....sad day for our team....sad day for Chicago," Devin Hester wrote on his Facebook page.
Plenty of players tweeted about Urlacher, as well:
— Matt Forte (@MattForte22) March 21, 2013
It's been an honor and privilege to be teammates with @burlacher54. Really hard to believe we are letting him go. One of the greats
— Robbie Gould (@RobbieGould09) March 21, 2013
— earl bennett (@Agent_Orange80) March 20, 2013
No teammate I've ever met treated people like Brian. He has had greatest impact on my career than any one player. Took me under wing
— Greg Olsen (@gregolsen82) March 21, 2013
Charles Tillman has been in Chicago nearly as long as Urlacher.
"I don't think anyone ever saw him playing for another team or not playing for the Bears," Tillman told the Sun-Times. "I'm shocked like everyone else. He was the heart and soul of our team - the defense especially - and he will be missed."
For the first time in 13 seasons, Urlacher won't be in the locker room with the Bears. Even though they know it's a business, it will still take time to get used to.