A free agent for the first time in his 13-year career, former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said Friday he's not sure if teams will be interested in him, but he's looking forward to finding out.
The Bears announced Wednesday they would not re-sign Urlacher for a 14th season after the linebacker turned down their one-year offer that could have totaled $2 million. Urlacher said his camp made an initial offer to the Bears, which was for two years and $11 million. He considered that a starting point in negotiations and came down to $3.5 million for one year, but Urlacher said the Bears wouldn't budge from their $2 million offer.
Urlacher said "30 seconds" after his agent heard from the Bears that they would not re-sign him the team issued a news release on Twitter announcing the split.
"I would have appreciated a call from, maybe not (from Bears general manager) Phil (Emery), but (from team chairman) George (McCaskey) or somebody else I've been around," Urlacher said Friday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "I haven't been around Phil; he's been here for one year, so I don't know him all that well, but (a call) from somebody else in the organization I've been around for a long time (would have been appreciated)."
On Friday, the Bears signed former Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams to a one-year deal, a source confirmed to ESPNChicago.com. The 30-year-old was suspended nine games last season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy and for his second arrest for driving under the influence. According to the Chicago Tribune, he can earn a maximum of $1.75 million if he hits all bonuses.
Urlacher, who will be 35 in May, said his agent has talked with the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. ESPN Twin Cities reported last week that the Vikings would not be interested in Urlacher unless his price comes way down.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones doubts Dallas would sign Urlacher, noting it wouldn't make sense to sign him as a backup to Sean Lee only to cut him in a year.
"You don't ever dismiss Hall of Famers in my book," Jones told ESPNDallas.com. "It would be difficult. He obviously plays what Sean plays. To move everything around for a year doesn't really make a lot of sense. But at the same time, you don't ever rule it out."
"The crazy thing is no one thought I would leave Chicago," Urlacher said to Patrick. "All these teams this whole time they've talked to, they're like, 'Chicago is not going to let him go. He's not going to leave them, so why waste our time with this?' I think it's pretty obvious now that that is not the case."
Urlacher said he is open to play for any team, even the Bears' division rival Green Bay Packers, although he would be surprised if he landed there.
"Every team is an option right now," Urlacher told "Waddle & Silvy." "I haven't ruled anything out. I would be really, really surprised if I went to Green Bay. That would be really weird. But like I said, I'd like to play for a team that has a chance to win. They've won. Minnesota won last year. Green Bay has been good for a long time. I don't see that happening, but there's 31 options out there."
Urlacher injured his knee in the final game of the 2011 season and struggled with the injury for much of the 2012 season. He missed the final four games last season after suffering a hamstring injury in a game against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 2.
The injuries along with his age might be an obstacle for Urlacher to find a new home at the price he wants, but he said his body feels good and that he is eager to prove he can still play.
"On the field is the only way I can answer it," Urlacher told "Waddle & Silvy." "My body feels great. My knee feels good. I've rehabbed. I'm actually working out now finally, whereas last year all I did was rehab and try to get this thing right and it never was. But now I'm just finally working out and doing the things I need to do to get better, get back on the field and be successful."