I was in line at the Jewel grocery store Wednesday when word started spreading through Chicago: Brian Urlacher is no longer a Bear.
Where were you when you heard it, Chicago?
"They finally did it?'' the guy behind me asked. "What did they get for him?''
They didn't trade him. They dumped him.
"They dumped him,'' he repeated. "Ah, it was probably time.''
"Urlacher is gone?'' said the cashier? "Don't you think he could have played one more year?''
Sure. He wanted to stay. But he thought the Bears' offer was an insult. They low-balled him to get him to leave, so they wouldn't have to get out from under their desks and tell him goodbye.
"They dumped him?'' she said. "It was probably time.''
As for emotional goodbyes, this isn't one. Urlacher was the face of the Chicago Bears for over a decade. He was a Hall of Fame linebacker, but not the next Dick Butkus, which is what Chicago expected. And no one wanted to see Urlacher limp around the way Butkus did at the end, anyway.