Urlacher's farewell tough to bear

March, 21, 2013
3/21/13
3:18
PM ET
It's a surprise when it ends amicably in the NFL, when the Hall of Fame-bound superstar finishes his career with the same team he's led for a dozen or so years. Professional sports, all of them, are big and often nasty business. But this is what the NFL does more ruthlessly, more callously than the others: discard great players, show them the door with barely a handshake, much less a hug.

At least Brian Urlacher is in great company, from John Unitas to Joe Montana to Jerry Rice to, well, the great Ed Reed. It would have been a surprise if it ended happily, though that's what Urlacher was hoping for right to the end. Just a week ago he was hopeful he would end his career in a Bears uniform but not particularly optimistic. His fears became reality Wednesday; the divorce was made final. Sentimentality is something with which the NFL is utterly unfamiliar.

Read the entire story.

Michael Wilbon | email

Pardon the Interruption co-host
Michael Wilbon is a featured columnist for ESPN.com and ESPNChicago.com. He is the longtime co-host of "Pardon the Interruption" on ESPN and appears on the "NBA Sunday Countdown" pregame show on ABC, in addition to ESPN. You can follow him on Twitter: @RealMikeWilbon

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