BREAKING: Brian Urlacher Retires, But Is He A First-Ballot HOFer?

For the second time this year, the NFL is bidding adieu to a future Hall of Fame middle linebacker. While Ray Lewis walked off into the sunset with a Super Bowl for Baltimore, Urlacher's tenure with the Chicago Bears ended less amicably.

After the Bears abruptly cut off negotiations for a new contract for Urlacher, the slighted linebacker excorciated the Bears front office and new general manager Phil Emery while vowing to return next season. However, on Wednesday morning, Urlacher did an about face and announced his retirement via a statement posted on his Twitter account.

Ultimately, the debate has shifted from where Urlacher would pop up next in the NFL next season, to whether he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer in the 2017 class alongside Ray Lewis or if he'll have to wait for his call. Urlacher is a Monster of the Midway legend, but he lacks the credentials of all-world defenders Ronde Barber, Ray Lewis and most importantly, a Super Bowl ring. In my mind, he was always a notch below guys like Barber, Lewis and even Ed Reed. He'll get in, but it won't be in the 2017 class.

What do you think?

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