Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher has been flirting with the enemy, specifically the NFC North division rival Vikings.
A Vikings source confirmed talks with Urlacher's camp, but said the team was "monitoring" the situation and still believed Urlacher eventually would remain with the Bears.
The Vikings are expected to lose linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who visited the Giants on Wednesday and is to meet with the Cardinals on Thursday.
The Cardinals and Cowboys are also teams with some interest in Urlacher. The Bears still haven't responded to the two-year contract proposal Urlacher's representatives gave the team last week. Instead, they let him hit the free agent market, presumably to let him gauge his value after 13 seasons with the Bears.
"We have approached him about coming back,'' general manager Phil Emery said Wednesday at a news conference introducing big-money free agents, left tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett. "As far as working it out, that is ongoing.''
Urlacher is looking for a deal in the range of the $5.5 million Ray Lewis earned in his last season with the Ravens, a source said. It's unlikely the Bears would pay that type of money and not responding to the offer may be a less-than-subtle way of avoiding an embarrassing negotiation.
Urlacher can't be thrilled but Emery does not believe Urlacher feels slighted by "the process," something the GM vowed to avoid when he last talked about the subject last month.
Is Urlacher interested in wearing purple or is he just trying to create a market? Have the Bears motivated him to seek revenge against them?
"Well, the talks are ongoing so I don't know why anybody would feel slighted,'' Emery said.
Bears coach Marc Trestman might not have given the linebacker a ringing endorsement, but he was as strong on the subject of an Urlacher return Wednesday as he has been since he replaced Lovie Smith.
"I think Brian is a very, very capable player,'' Trestman said. "I am excited about him being a part of this football team if that happens.'' If that happens, it seems certain to come at a price less than Urlacher wants. http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football...