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Disclaimer: This is a Rant

March 23, 2013

By Ross Mitchell

A friend and old teammate (and die-hard Bears fan) asked me what I thought about how the Bears handled Brian Urlacher’s decision to part ways with the team and about the whole situation in general.  This is me going off at 2 in the morning.  On Facebook.

Doesn’t sit well at all. Phil Emery has made some outstanding moves (i.e. Brandon Marshall, hopefully Bushrod and Bennett). But he has said/done some things that really bother me. Firing Lovie may or may not have been the right move, only time will tell, but the Urlacher departure is straight bullshit. If you wanted him gone, say you wanted him gone. Sight age or the knee, or you just wanted to move in a different direction. Even if they thought he couldn’t play anymore, it’s fine. People (myself) may not agree but I understand how the NFL works. Don’t pull a Jerry Angelo and act like you’re smarter than everyone else with the “We offered him a deal and he turned us down” nonsense. He isn’t Olin Kreutz, he’s the most important Bears player since #34. If you really wanted him on the team you would have given him the extra $1.5 million and not said take $2 million or leave it.

Also Emery has said the Bears are committed to winning now. So, going back to Lovie Smith, you fire a head coach who went 10-6 for an unproven commodity who hasn’t coached in the United States of America in five years. Because under Coach Smith the Bears didn’t make the playoffs consistently and the offense was never better than 16th overall. Both of those reasons are true. So you hire (an offensive minded guru) a rookie head coach? Interesting… By no means am I against Trestman. I’m hopeful he can bring the Bears offense into the 21st century, but Emery’s logic is baffling. If the Bears are worse than 10-6 and don’t make the playoffs and don’t have a top ten offense does Trestman get fired after one season? He failed to meet Emery’s criteria.

The “lip service” as Brian Urlacher called it paid by Emery will also have long term ramifications. You can all but guarantee this is Peanut Tillman’s last year in a Bears uniform, possibly Pepper’s too with his cap hit/age. As soon as his contract expires Lance Brigg’s house will be on the market. And the Bears have all but stated they have no intention of extending Cutler until after the season (though I agree with franchising him next year). My point is, if this is how the Bears treat their the core players, why would any free agent sign there? They can make millions of bucks for organizations that treat their veterans well. And I haven’t even mentioned the loss Urlacher’s departure will have on the locker room. He was the glue, plain and simple.

Now, here’s the heart of my frustration (besides Emery talking out of both sides of his mouth). As with every move made by every professional team, I ask what do they from here? Is there a plan and what is it? So far the Bears have signed D.J. Williams to play middle linebacker next season. Okay, so you cut a future Hall-of-Famer for a guy who hasn’t been good in two years and was suspended for violating the League’s substance abuse policy to a one-year, league minimum deal. It helps the cap sure, but D.J. Williams has never been a Cover-2 middle linebacker. Urlacher might be slow, old, and injured, but he is A) the greatest Cover-2 middle linebacker ever, B) knows the defense better than anyone in the league, C) was still the best Cover-2 middle linebacker in the league last season, and D) gets everyone aligned properly. That last sentiment has been made abundantly clear by Julius Peppers, Charles Tillman, and Lance Briggs. But what do they know?

But lets say D.J. Williams is a stopgap. Lets just say he was a cap friendly move who could potentially be productive and will serve as a transitional player for one year (odd considering Emery’s decree to win now). Does that mean they draft a middle linebacker this season? Alright, who better to mentor that player than Brian Urlacher? I’ll give you a hint, not D.J. Williams. And again, I’m rooting for Williams to be a pro-bowler this year, but he’s learning the system too and has a history of mediocrity. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up.

In conclusion I guess I’m just upset that arguably my favorite Bear of all time was ushered unceremoniously out the door. In a move that doesn’t add up. And that the brass is again treating the fan base like a flock of drooling, mindless lemmings. It’s one thing to rebuild. It’s another thing to be misleading. The Bears were 10-6 last season. They fired their head coach and team leader. When has that ever been a recipe for success? Hopefully I’m dead wrong, but for the first time in year I won’t be saying I’m buying my Super Bowl tickets now.

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