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Brian Urlacher: Injury, coach change factors in retiring

Brian Urlacher wasn't going to ignore reality. There was no hiding the fact his 34-year-old body no longer possessed football greatness. Urlacher figured he could catch on with another team if he hung around long enough this summer, but what was the point?

It was time to say goodbye.

Urlacher announced his retirement Wednesday, ending a 13-year NFL career spent entirely with the Chicago Bears. Urlacher sounded like a man without regret as he discussed his decision on "The Rich Eisen Podcast."

"Honestly, I'm just not quite the same player I used to be," Urlacher said. "If I was the same player that I was three or four years ago, I think I'd still want to play, but I'm not. After I hurt my knee, I just haven't been able to do the same things I want to do. So, it's frustrating for me, and I don't want to do it anymore."

Urlacher acknowledged he might not have felt the same way had Lovie Smith not been fired following Chicago's 10-6 season in 2012.

"Someone asked me the other day, what if Lovie was still there, would you still want to play or do you think it would have gone differently?" Urlacher said. "I think yes, it would have. I think I'd still want to play. Because the desire to play for your head coach. I don't know the new coaches, but I know if Lovie was there, I'm pretty sure I'd still want to play football for him."

Urlacher reiterated that he didn't like the way the Bears handled his final contract negotiations -- he said there never were sincere talks -- while insisting he doesn't carry a grudge into retirement.

"I have no issue with the Bears," Urlacher said. "I'm happy with where I'm at right now. The decision I made was a good decision, I think so, and whatever happened between us put me in this spot. So I'm happy for that.

"I love the Bears. I'm always going to be a Bears fan. Nothing's going to change there."

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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