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.