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Updated: May 22nd, 2013 10:15am
Brian Urlacher won't be joining Vikings, announces retirement instead

Brian Urlacher won't be joining Vikings, announces retirement instead

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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Brian Urlacher apparently won't be playing for the Minnesota Vikings, or anyone else for that matter.

The longtime Chicago Bears middle linebacker announced his retirement via his Twitter account on Wednesday morning.

"After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire," Urlacher wrote.

"Although I could continue playing, I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that's up to my standards. When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after playing a 13 year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear.

"I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way. I will miss my teammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I'm proud to say that I ave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss the great game, but I leave it with no regrets."

The Bears announced two months ago they had reached a mutual decision with Urlacher to sever ties, although the 34-year-old -- he turns 35 on Saturday -- said there was no real negotiation.

A Chicago gossip columnist renewed rumors about Urlacher joining the rival Vikings last week, citing a source as saying the sides were close on a one- or two-year deal.

But such a move never made sense with general manager Rick Spielman's roster-building philosophy, and Vikings coach Leslie Frazier quickly moved to squash rumor.

All indications are the Vikings' Plan A at the position is Erin Henderson, who has started the past two seasons at weakside linebacker and has every intention of winning the job in the middle.

A first-round draft pick (No. 9 overall) out of New Mexico in 2000, Urlacher played 13 seasons with the Bears, making eight Pro Bowls and earning All-Pro honors five times.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
In this story: Leslie Frazier, Erin Henderson
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