Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher contemplated free agency Sunday after his team was eliminated from playoff contention, and while he wants to stay where he's played all of his 13 NFL seasons, the 34-year-old knows that change is always a possibility.
Urlacher missed the last four games with a hamstring injury and was on the sidelines in Detroit on Sunday as the Bears won 26-24. But Chicago needed Green Bay to beat Minnesota, and the Vikings' win meant the Bears would miss the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
"I still feel like I can play some football," Urlacher said on his weekly Fox Chicago segment. "An offseason of rehab is going to help me. I didn't get a chance to do a lot last (summer) with my knee being banged up the whole time.
"This year I did some during the season, but I think an offseason of rehab will help, and whatever happens, happens."
Urlacher hurt his knee in the 2011 season finale and had at least one procedure. He missed almost all of training camp.
"If (the future is) not here, then it won't be here," he said. "I still feel like I can play some football, though. I'm healthy now. I would have played next week if we had gotten in, but it doesn't matter now."
The Bears had said they wanted to wait until after the season to consider Urlacher's contractual situation.
"I don't know (how much football he has left). I have no idea," Urlacher said. "I don't even know if I'm going to be able to. Being a free agent in this situation right now, I'm not sure. We'll see how it goes the next few weeks or months, however long it takes to figure out what's going to happen.
"I'm not in a rush right now. I've got time. Not being in the playoffs you have a lot of time to think about it, so that's what we'll do, I'm sure."
Urlacher said he's going to continue to have a residence in Chicago no matter what the future holds.
"There's a lot of things going on beyond football for myself," he said. "I love football. I love to play. I love this organization. I'd still like to keep playing here. This is where I made my home. I'm going to stay here. My children are here, and I've got a lot of things going for me other than that.
"But I want to keep playing football and I want to play it here."
There's also speculation head coach Lovie Smith could be on his way out of Chicago, and Urlacher said that would be a huge mistake. But he understands the nature of the NFL.
"There are changes every year," Urlacher said. "It's the NFL, there's changeover every single year. That's just the way our business works. You expect that. You expect every season to be different wherever you are, wherever you're playing, guys are going to be different every year."