It's rare that a press release takes your breath away. The email from the Chicago Bears on Wednesday did just that. In bold letters, it read: "Bears unable to reach agreement with Urlacher for 2013."

After 13 years as the centerpiece of the team, Brian Urlacher and the Bears are parting ways.

"We were unable to reach an agreement with Brian and both sides have decided to move forward," Bears GM Phil Emery said in a statement. "Brian has been an elite player in our league for over a decade. He showed great leadership and helped develop a winning culture over his time with the Bears. We appreciate all he has given our team, on and off the field. Brian will always be welcome as a member of the Bears."

We knew this was possible. Urlacher has been on the free agent market for a week, but he's struggled to find serious offers elsewhere. The Bears were clearly willing to bring him back, but they couldn't come to terms on a deal. Hall of Fame caliber players like Urlacher often find it very difficult to take a huge pay cut to stay put. (Even if they have to take a huge pay cut when they leave town.)

Urlacher was the perfect fit for former coach Lovie Smith's Tampa Two defense. He made the Pro Bowl eight times and won the AP Defensive Player of the Year award in 2005. He's the type of player that inspires statements from team owners.