Compromise missing in Urlacher situation
Brian Urlacher made some acrimonious comments after the split between the eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker and the Bears last month.
Among other things, Urlacher said he would have appreciated a call from someone in the organization, especially someone from the McCaskey family.
But Bears chairman George McCaskey said that’s not the player he’s come to know over the previous 13 years. And McCaskey did talk to Urlacher -- after a cooling-off period.
“He was very gracious,” McCaskey said. “I wanted to wait a little bit because I figured there would be a little emotion. But Brian knows how we feel about him. He's one of the all-time great Bears; he continued the outstanding linebacker legacy of the Bears. He's going to be in the Hall of Fame, and when he is, everyone's going to think of him as a Chicago Bear.”
Just as it seems clear that Urlacher really wants to remain in Chicago, it appears just as obvious that McCaskey and his family want him to remain the face of the franchise.
“I said going into the process that I'd be heartbroken if he didn't come back, and I am,” McCaskey said. “Our whole family is. Brian's just been the face of the franchise, an outstanding Bear on and off the field. But we knew it was a possibility going into it, that it might be this result, and that's the way it turned out.”
For now, that’s how it is, although when asked about a possible Urlacher return, McCaskey didn’t want to close the door on a return, however unlikely.
“That's up to the market and Phil (Emery) and Marc (Trestman), and Phil said, ‘It's a process,’ and we just go through it and see what happens.”
If it doesn’t happen for Urlacher and the Bears, both sides are to blame. Him for letting pride get in the way of a deal, and the Bears for not making more of an effort to make it work with one of the franchise’s all-time greats.
McCaskey frequently makes it a point to say things like: “Bears fans should be assured that I don't involve myself in personnel decisions,” as he did Tuesday. And, in almost every case, that’s a good idea. He should leave football decisions to the football people. But maybe, in this case, McCaskey should make an exception.
The art of compromise has been lost in this situation.