The four-time All-Pro played under ex-Bears head coach Lovie Smith from 2004 to 2012, with the team amassing five winning seasons in that span. The Bears made it all the way to the Super Bowl under Smith, losing to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the Big Game after the 2006 season.
Smith was ultimately fired in 2012 after the Bears finished with a 10-6 record, but failed to make the playoffs for the fifth time in six years. The Hall of Fame linebacker has been vocal in the past about his dislike for how the team fired Smith, who is currently in his first year as head coach of the Houston Texans.
On the June 28 episode of Barstool Sports’ Bussin’ with the Boys podcast, the Bears legend got candid about his final seasons with the franchise, and he added a few new thoughts about Smith’s firing.
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Urlacher Calls Ex-Bears GM Phil Emery ‘Weirdo’ Who Doesn’t Like Winning
“I didn’t like the way they handled it,” Urlacher told co-hosts Will Compton and Taylor Lewan about the way the Bears let Smith, who was well-respected in the locker room, go. “They fired our GM the year before, and honestly how the f*** do you fire Lovie after you go 10-6?” Urlacher wondered, before pointing out the Bears’ lack of success after Smith’s departure.
“They fired Lovie and I was like, ‘What the f*** are y’all doing?’ And then they didn’t win 10 games like the next seven years. After Lovie left, they had a hard time winning games.”
Urlacher also took a shot at former Bears general manager Phil Emery, who was hired in 2012.
“It’s just like, why fire the guy? And I know why they fired him — because the new GM was a weirdo and he didn’t like winning, so he fired Lovie. … It was Phil Emery, a guy I had never heard of before,” Urlacher continued. “They fired (former Bears GM) Jerry Angelo, who was a great GM.”
Angelo was let go in 2011 and Emery lasted only three years in Chicago, getting fired in 2014.
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Urlacher Still Passionate About Bears Football
Smith went 81-63 in his nine years as Bears coach and was succeeded in Chicago by Canadian League coach Marc Trestman, who, as Urlacher pointed out, “lasted a whole two years.” Trestman was the top choice of Emery, and is widely regarded as one of the worst head coaches in team history.
Trestman finished with a 13-19 record in his two seasons in Chicago, and has never gotten another head coaching gig in the NFL after the Bears fired him in 2014.
“It’s frustrating because obviously I love that franchise, so it’s frustrating to see the direction it went after they fired Lovie,” Urlacher added.
The Bears have had one winning season since firing Smith: in 2018, when now former head coach Matt Nagy led the team to a 12-4 record. Chicago also hasn’t won a playoff game since Smith’s departure, and it’s clear Urlacher, like myriad Bears fans, would like the drought to stop.