Urlacher may protest contract by skipping mandatory workouts

Updated: May 14, 2008, 2:31 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Brian Urlacher skipped voluntary workouts, trying to impress upon the Chicago Bears his unhappiness with his current contract. Since the team hasn't budged, he now says that he'll likely skip involuntary workouts as well.

Brian Urlacher

Urlacher

According to multiple media reports on Tuesday, the middle linebacker said that he expects to boycott the mandatory minicamp that runs from May 30 to June 1. Yahoo.com first reported the story.

Skipping the mandatory workouts could mean a fine of $8,000 for Urlacher.

"Yeah, it would bug me to get fined, but it's my choice," he said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Unless something happens [with the contract] between now and then, I won't be there."

Urlacher is leaving the door open to further talks.

"My agents and the team had some good dialogue early on, but nothing's happened lately," he said, according to Yahoo.com "It's been almost two months since there's been any action on their end, and it's a waiting game right now."

Urlacher, who said he has recovered from neck surgery, has four years left on his nine-year, $56.5 million contract, but he believes the deal is outdated.

"It's easy for people to criticize me for wanting [a new deal], and I understand that it's a contract and I signed it," Urlacher said, according to Yahoo.com. "But this is the NFL, and if I'd signed it and I'd played like [expletive], they'd have cut me or tried to get me to take less. In my mind, there's no difference. If they can 'break' a contract, I have a right to ask for more if I play well enough.

"When I signed my deal the salary cap was $75 million. It's, what, $116 million now? Things have changed. I understand that all of this, to a normal person, sounds crazy. It's all relative to what you do. If you're a chair-builder, and you feel you're the best at what you do, and other chair-builders are making more than you, then you'd want to be paid more, too."

Urlacher told the Tribune that it's premature to think he'll skip training camp as well.

"Training camp is a long way away [July 23], and I expect there will be some dialogue between my agents and the Bears before then," he said, according to the newspaper.

Despite playing with back pain, Urlacher led the Bears in tackles last season with 123 and added five sacks and five interceptions.

The Bears have been unwilling to discuss Urlacher's contract status.

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