Report: Urlacher denies seeking trade, retirement talk

Updated: April 18, 2008, 7:50 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is disputing a published report which, citing anonymous sources, said he threatened to retire if his contract is not renegotiated.

Brian Urlacher

Urlacher

"I never said that I was going to quit," Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune on Friday. "That's just a gossip column. Reports like that is why I choose not to speak to the media."

According to the report in the Chicago Sun-Times, one league source said Urlacher's agents have asked the team if they could explore a trade, while another said Urlacher is threatening to retire because of neck and back problems.

The report said Urlacher, who is not taking part in the team's voluntary offseason workout program, is threatening to hold out of minicamp, organized team activities and even training camp unless he gets a new deal.

Were Urlacher to retire, he would not have to pay back any of a $13 million signing bonus. But Urlacher, who is seeking a multiyear extension for the nine-year, $56 million deal he signed in 2003, told the Tribune he was unsure about attending minicamp and did not address whether he'd miss training camp. He also dismissed talk of a trade.

"Everybody knows I want to be in Chicago," he said, according to the Tribune. "I've said that from day one. I can't imagine playing anywhere else. I want to be with my teammates."

"They've offered me a one-year extension," Urlacher said. "My agents are doing a great job for me. I try to stay out of it as much as I can."

Urlacher, who had minor neck surgery in January and is fighting arthritis in his lower back, said he understood the Bears' hesitance to sign him to a long-term extension.

"But in my mind, my neck is rehabbed and back to normal," Urlacher said, according to the Tribune. "My back is better now than it was at any point last season."

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