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FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2012, file photo, Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher chases a play against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in San Francisco. The Bears announced on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, that they were unable to reach a contract agreement with Urlacher, who is an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) (AP)
After 13 seasons, Bears part ways with veteran LB Urlacher

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on March 20, 2013 at 7:19 p.m.

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears are parting ways with veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher after 13 years.

General manager Phil Emery said Wednesday that the team couldn’t agree on a contract with Urlacher, for years the heart and face of the franchise. He is now a free agent after missing the last four games of the season with a hamstring injury.

The eight-time Pro Bowler started 180 games from 2000 through 2012, recording a team-record 1,779 tackles. The ninth overall selection in the 2000 draft has 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles. He was the AP’s defensive player of the year in 2005.

Chairman Brian McCaskey says the team wished its “humble superstar” the best.