The Chicago Bears are parting ways with veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher after 13 years. General manager Phil Emery said Wednesday that the team couldn’t agree on a contract with Urlacher, for years the heart and face of the franchise. Urlacher has been slowed by knee problems and missed the last four games of last season with a hamstring injury. The 34-year-old eight-time Pro Bowler started 180 games from 2000 through 2012, recording a team-record 1,779 tackles. The ninth overall selection in the 2000 draft has 41½ sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries, and 11 forced fumbles . . . Free agent safety Ed Reed is on the verge of becoming a Houston Texan, according to multiple media reports. CBSSports.com reported that a deal was in place, and the NFL Network quoted Reed as saying he was headed to Houston ‘‘unless something changes.’’ Neither Reed nor his agent, David Dunn, immediately returned phone messages left by the Associated Press . . . Quarterback Eli Manning will consider reworking his contract if it will help keep leading receiver Victor Cruz on the Giants . . . Defensive end Turk McBride, a six-year veteran who played last season for New Orleans, agreed to a one-year contract with the Bears . . . Free agent cornerback Brice McCain signed a three-year contract to stay with the Texans . . . The Broncos have scheduled visits with free agent pass rushers Dwight Freeney and John Abraham, according to ESPN . . . The Colts signed free agent defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin . . . The Panthers agreed to a one-year contract with unrestricted free agent safety Mike Mitchell.
Union looking at mandatory visor use
The NHL Players Association plans to canvass its membership on requiring visors. Mathieu Schneider, a special assistant to union executive director Donald Fehr, said some 72-73 percent of the league’s players wear shields. ‘‘By the sheer numbers of players wearing them, you’re seeing a big change in visors,’’ Schneider said. “Guys come into the league now having had to wear a visor before. We’re definitely going to look at talking to the guys about grandfathering them in.’’ The last time they took a poll, in 2009, players were ‘‘heavily’’ against grandfathering in visors, Schneider said . . . Panthers rookie Eric Selleck was suspended for two games without pay for instigating a fight late in his NHL debut against Carolina Tuesday night. Selleck came off the bench to fight forward Kevin Westgarth with 2:58 left in the Panthers’ 4-1 win. Westgarth dropped Selleck with two punches . . . Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk will miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained knee ligament.
Illness forces Alabama AD to resign
Alabama athletic director Mal Moore is stepping down because of health problems after a lengthy reign at his alma mater that ended with the Crimson Tide’s football program back on top nationally. The 73-year-old Moore, who played and coached for Paul ‘‘Bear’’ Bryant and then hired football coach Nick Saban, has been hospitalized at Duke University Medical Center since March 13 with pulmonary problems . . . Michigan junior linebacker Jake Ryan is out indefinitely after suffering a torn ACL during spring practice . . . Alabama and Wisconsin will open the 2015 football season against each other at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Crimson Tide and Badgers will meet for the first time since 1928.
IOC will retest Turin doping samples
The International Olympic Committee will retest doping samples from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin in an effort to catch any drug cheats who escaped detection at the time. Samples will be analyzed with advanced techniques to check for banned substances that were not found in 2006. Last year, the IOC retested samples from the 2004 Athens Olympics and caught five athletes who were retroactively stripped of their medals . . . Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir of the Boston Skating Club will be the pairs representatives for the US at the World Team Trophy figure skating event April 11-14 in Tokyo. Also on the team are Max Aaron and Jeremy Abbott in the men’s competition and Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold in the women’s . . . The US Tennis Association said the US Open will increase its annual prize money to $50 million by 2017 — double what it was last year — and permanently schedule the men’s semifinals on Friday and final on Sunday starting in 2015.