A Football Great Calls It Quits; Is the Hall of Fame Next for Brian Urlacher?

September 27, 2013 Updated May 22, 2013 at 1:16 PM EDT

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A Football Great Calls It Quits; Is the Hall of Fame Next for Brian Urlacher?

September 27, 2013 Updated May 22, 2013 at 1:16 PM EDT

Iconic Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher announced his retirement via Twitter on Wednesday, following 13 seasons of leading the team's defense. 

In an expanded announcement on WhoSay, Urlacher says:

After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire. 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 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 gavel all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets.

Urlacher, who became a free agent after last season, was unable to reach a new contract with the Bears during this offseason.

Urlacher was a first-round draft pick of the Bears in 2000 out of New Mexico. He finishes his career with 1,353 tackles, 41.5 quarterback sacks and 22 interceptions.

What the media is saying:

Chicago Tribune: Next stop for Urlacher is Canton

Chicago Tribune: Brian Urlacher retires: Bears great says he's leaving NFL

Chicago Sun-Times: Bears great Brian Urlacher announces retirement

ESPN Chicago: Brian Urlacher retiring from NFL

Sports Illustrated: Brian Urlacher a legend, but retirement comes at right time

Follow what's being said about Urlacher on Twitter