Brian Urlacher certainly was one of most athletic middle linebackers ever to play the game, and now that he has retired debate can begin about his Hall of Fame credentials.
The discussion is not about if the eight-time Pro Bowler, who played all 13 seasons of his career with the Chicago Bears, belongs in Canton, Ohio, but whether he is a first-time ballot enshrinee.
Urlacher made it official on Wednesday when he retired, saying, "Although I could continue playing, I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that's up to my standards.
"When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after a 13-year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear."
Later in the week, that decision was not so clear after Urlacher told The Dallas Morning News that he would have considered accepting an offer from the Dallas Cowboys had one been made.
"If I could have picked a spot, it would have been Dallas," Urlacher said. "[The Cowboys] run our defense. They took our [defensive] coordinator. That would have been ideal. But they have two really good young linebackers."
Urlacher, who turned 35 on Saturday, wanted to keep on playing and had trained in the offseason as if he was going to be on the field for the 2013 season.
But the free-agent future Hall of Famer, was unable to agree to a deal with the Bears, and despite saying the Cowboys' situation was "ideal," there was no interest from Dallas.