Brian Urlacher’s Storied Career

Urlacher suffers through multiple ups and downs during likely Hall of Fame Bears career.

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Brian Urlacher announced his retirement on May 22, 2013. He'll go down as one of the most iconic Bears to ever play the game, no small feat for such a storied franchise and all of the legendary players to man the middle linebacker position before him. Herein, a chronological look at some of No. 54's ups and downs as a Chicago Bear.
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The Bears made Brian Urlacher the ninth overall pick in the 2000 draft after an All-American season at the University of New Mexico.
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Even then, he was extremely athletic and talented, but did anyone think at that time he was Hall of Fame material? Hard to say. But he did end up with the NFL Rookie of the Year Award in 2000.
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Urlacher quickly became a force on the defensive side, garnering eight Pro Bowls over his career and a Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2005.
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But despite his success, Urlacher managed to generate some hateration from his peers. A 2006 Sports Illustratedplayer poll named him the second most overrated player in the league, behind Terrell Owens.
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Madison Avenue loves him, though. Urlacher's made quite a name for himself as a pitchman, shilling products for the likes of Nike, McDonald's, Vitamin Water and more recently, DirecTV.
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And he won't be winning Oscars anytime soon, but Urlacher did have a cameo on the HBO show Entourage.
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Then there's the ladies. Urlacher has two daughters, Pamela and Riley, with his ex-wife Laurie Urlacher.
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He kicked it for a minute with Paris Hilton after they met and "had a good time in Vegas."
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And nothing seems to stay in Vegas when you're Brian Urlacher -- in 2009 he was seen canoodling with George Clooney's ex, Sarah Larson.
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Urlacher's relationship with Tyna Robertson led to some baby mama drama, including questions about paternity and ugly legal disputes over visitation for their son, Kennedy.
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This year, Urlacher's relationship with Jenny McCarthy became very public, but fizzled out before the season started.
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By all accounts, he and Minnie were just platonic friends.
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Back to football. Urlacher has been quite durable over his career, but like most athletes, injuries began to pile up as he got older. He fought through arthritic back problems throughout the 2007 campaign and underwent neck surgery after the season to treat it.
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But his value was still high. The Bears revised Urlacher's contract after the 2007 season, throwing in a $6 million signing bonus and pay increases each of the extended four years.
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Then there was the dislocated wrist in the 2009 opener versus the Packers that kept him out for the rest of the season.
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In 2011, Urlacher sprained his MCL in the last game of the season. The injury didn't heal as quickly as he would have liked, causing him to sit out training camp and start the 2012 season slowly.
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Urlacher's mother, Lavoyda Lenard, died in 2011 at the age of 51. Urlacher later told ESPN that he still pays her cell phone bill so he can call and listen to her voice mail answering machine.
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Urlacher received the Ed Block Courage Award for 2011, awarded to players who show a commitment to sportsmanship and courage.
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March 20, 2013: The Chicago Bears announce they were not able to reach a contract agreement with Urlacher and that both sides agreed to move forward. Urlacher is now a free agent.
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Urlacher's final stats as a Bear? 182 games played, 1,779 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 2 touchdowns and 8 Pro Bowls. And eventually, the Hall of Fame.
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May 22, 2013: After speaking to several teams about potentially playing elsewhere, Urlacher announces his retirement, notably highlighting the opportunity to finish his career having "worn only one jersey for such a storied franchise."
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