Brian Urlacher wanted to finish his career with the Chicago Bears. He was willing to take a pay cut to make it happen.
"It wasn't even an offer, it was an ultimatum," Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune, a message he reiterated in a subsequent tweet. "I feel like I'm a decent football player still. It was insulting, somewhat of a slap in the face.
Urlacher's agent approached the Bears seeking a two-year contract worth $11.5 million. Instead, the Bears countered with a one-year, $2 million offer. Urlacher told the Tribune he was willing to agree to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, but the Bears never moved from their initial offer.
"I want to be here," Urlacher said. "I wanted to be in Chicago. I wanted to finish here. Now that's not possible.
"This whole offseason, I had a bad feeling about this situation anyway. I just wish they would have said, 'We don't want you back.' I think this whole thing is just about them saving face and trying to say that they made a run at me. That's what I think it is."
A source briefed on the situation told NFL.com's Albert Breer that the sides reached a stalemate in the last few days, and it couldn't be broken. Urlacher doesn't plan to retire, the source said, and hasn't shut the door on re-visiting the idea of a contract with the Bears later in the offseason.
"There are no hard feelings between me and the Bears' organization," Urlacher told the Tribune. "I had a great run here. I'm going to miss the (heck) out of my teammates."
One of the most difficult things a franchise ever will have to deal with is the treatment of a star player who's in the twilight of his career. The greatness of the past never mixes well with the hard business of the present and future.
Urlacher and the Bears deserved a happy ending. In time, they'll probably get it. For now, feelings are hurt.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.