Brian Urlacher intends to retire as a Chicago Bear, and he isn't giving much credence to the notion that he'd end his career anywhere else.
"Thereâs no doubt in my mind Iâll finish my career with the Bears," Urlacher told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday. "However that works out, it works out. I canât imagine playing anywhere else."
Urlacher is entering the final year of the five-year, $40.6 million contract he signed before the 2008 season. The 33-year-old linebacker stands to make $7.5 million next season, and he told the Sun-Times that he's not eyeing retirement anytime soon.
"The No. 1 thing is, Iâve got to keep playing well," Urlacher said. "Weâll see what happens. I donât want to go anywhere else."
Urlacher declined to tell the newspaper if he is seeking a market-level deal, though he said the Bears have accommodated him in past negotiations. Bears coach Lovie Smith seems to agree that Urlacher has a few more seasons left in the tank.
"Brian is a special athlete, and heâll be in great shape," Smith said. "Heâs going to play a lot more years for us. Really had a good year last year, and Iâm looking forward to an even better year with him."
Urlacher had 102 tackles last season with three interceptions, though he sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the final game of the season. Urlacher's knee has yet to return to 100 percent, according to the Sun-Times, but Urlacher said he should be fine when minicamps begin later this month.
"(My knee is) doing really good," Urlacher said. "Iâm just doing what Iâm told. When itâs time to go, Iâll be ready to go. Thereâs no reason to rush it."