In March, the Bears announced that they were moving forward without Brian Urlacher, who had spent 13 seasons with the team and was one of the best middle linebackers of his era. Two months later, Urlacher officially announced his retirement.
In a recent interview with Yahoo.com, Urlacher revealed that quarterback Jay Cutler was the only former Bears teammate not to contact him after his retirement, even though Urlacher was one of Cutler's staunchest supporters during their time together in Chicago.
"Well, I did not hear from Jay, out of all the guys I played with, but that's just -- maybe we weren't as close as, like you said, as we could have been," Urlacher said. "That's just the way to let you know where you stand with people. But it's not his job to text me, maybe that's not his thing. That's fine. That's the way it is. I felt like I stood up for him more than anyone else did over the last three or four years in the media. I feel bad for the guy, he takes a lot of grief from the media too."
Cutler was asked Thursday about Urlacher's comments.
"No, I haven't spoken to Brian," the quarterback said. "I did not call him. I guess I'll reach out to him."
Hey, it's the thought that counts. (We recommend a DiktaFace t-shirt as a peace offering.)
Urlacher conceded that he originally had reservations about the Bears trading for Cutler because Kyle Orton had helped the team to nine wins the season before.
"It was a tough situation with him coming in because we gave up two first-round picks to get him," Urlacher said. "We got rid of our quarterback at the time, Kyle Orton, who I didn't think needed to be traded in the first place. I thought he was our guy. We won games with him. He did the things as a defensive player you needed: He didn't turn the football over. He gave us a chance to play defense. So I was mad when they traded him in the first place. I didn't understand it.
"I was also excited. We got a quarterback that could possibly take us to the Super Bowl. Jay Cutler is a first-round pick, had a great arm, etc. It's just -- he's offense, I'm defense. We didn't get a chance to interact as much as we should have, maybe."
In January 2011, Urlacher defended Cutler against critics who questioned the quarterback's toughness. Cutler left early in the third quarter of the NFC Championship Game with a knee injury, and Chicago went on to lose to Green Bay.
"Nothing like jealous people who are sitting home watching," Urlacher said at the time (via USA Today), referring to other NFL players who had tweeted that Cutler was soft. "Players around the league you said, right? Yeah, love jealous people when they're watching our game on TV while their season is over. ...
"Who cares what they think?" he continued. "That's my response to them. They are not playing in this game. Jay was hurt, obviously. There's no reason for him to be out there if he can't get it done. He was obviously hurt pretty bad or he wouldn't have played. For them to question his toughness is stupid to me."