It seems like a moot point now with Marc Trestman now in charge of the Bears and Lovie Smith gone. But Brian Urlacher said he believes he'd still be playing if Smith was the Bears' head coach. Urlacher announced his retirement Wednesday.
"I do believe that, yes," Urlacher said during an interview on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" Wednesday. "I think my desire to be there would be a lot more as well.
"Nothing against the new coaching staff because I never played for them, but when you start playing for a guy like Lovie, you want to keep playing. So I think if he was there, my desire, my want-to to play would still be there."
Smith, of course, was fired on Dec. 31 after the Bears missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. General manager Phil Emery also cited the Bears' offensive woes the past few seasons as a reason for change.
Trestman was hired two weeks later after an exhaustive search by Emery. Trestman did speak with Urlacher more than once this offseason, even telling the future Hall of Famer that he saw a place for him with the Bears.
"My last discussion with him was to be very specific with him that we hoped it would work out," Trestman said during a breakfast with reporters during the NFL owners meetings on March 20. "And that as much as his locker room [presence] is important, we felt collectively as a staff that he could and would be playing for us -- that we wanted him to be here to play for us. I think that he could make our football team better on the field. That's where we left it."
Several hours after Trestman made those statements, the Bears announced that a deal could not be reached with Urlacher and negotiations had ended. The Bears had offered him a one-year deal, totaling $2 million, but only $1 million guaranteed.
Urlacher said afterward that he felt the Bears' offer was an insult. He told the NFL Network on Wednesday that he doesn't regret taking the Bears' offer, which turned out to be his only one.
" I still feel I made the right decision," Urlacher said. "The reason I wouldn't take it is because of the way the situation was handled. If the situation was handled differently, if they were straight forward with me, if they told me 'Hey this all we have to offer you. We want you here another year, but we can't do anything more for you. We would like to bring a young guy in,' whatever.
"The way it was handled, they told us to make an offer and then they would do this and that. I just felt that was not the way to handle it whoever controlled that. That made me mad. Just tell me upfront, 'We want you, we don't want you, this is what we have for you.' It was not a negotiation, and it frustrated me."