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Bears' Urlacher signs extension, to stay in Chicago through 2012

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Brian Urlacher checked into the Chicago Bears' training camp Tuesday night with a new contract, declaring he was healthy and ready to play.

The six-time Pro Bowl linebacker signed a one-year extension earlier in the day and the deal is reportedly worth $18 million. It includes a $6 million signing bonus, a $1 million raise in base salary from 2008 through 2011 and then $8 million in the final and new year of the deal in 2012.

"It feels good because I did have four years left on my contract, we all know that. They didn't have to do anything, that was obviously a nice deal they offered me," Urlacher said.

"We ended up getting it worked out."

Asked if he thought it would get done before training camp -- the Bears' first practice is Wednesday -- Urlacher said he wasn't sure.

"I really didn't know. It kind of dragged on all summer long, as we all know, I'm sure. Everyone reads the papers. ... It was more publicized than it should have been, I think, but I'm glad it's done now and it's behind me."

Urlacher had initially signed a nine-year, $56.65 million deal in 2003.

"It's very enticing at the time because it's a lot of guaranteed money up front, so you want to get that security. But at the same time, you don't know how you're going to play, either. You may outplay it," he said.

Urlacher, 30, underwent minor neck surgery in the offseason and has also been bothered by a sore back.

"I feel fine, I feel great," he said. "I'm not worried about that. Our doctors cleared me. I trust them, so if they tell me I'm OK, I'm OK. I feel fine, I haven't had any effects from my neck, from my back, nothing. So just get out there and start playing."

In 121 games, including 119 as a starter, Urlacher has 1,299 tackles, 37½ sacks, 15 interceptions, seven forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries. He has led the team in tackles seven times.

He was the Bears' first-round pick in the 2000 draft out of New Mexico and has evolved into their most well-known player with his speed and hard-hitting ability.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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