Urlacher Lawsuit Details Memorabilia Deal

Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher suffered a season-ending wrist dislocation during the first game of the season. 

Less than a week later he filed suit against the sports memorabilia licensing firm that cancelled his contract shortly after the injury.  

Urlacher sued Dream, Inc. on September 16, saying the firm is trying to “wiggle out” of a four-year contract that would have paid Urlacher at least $600,000, the Chicago Tribune reported.  

Reports say the contract terms allow Dream to terminate the deal if Urlacher is out for 16 weeks or suffers a career-ending injury.  Though the Bears said Urlacher would be out for the season, the lawsuit notes Urlacher has not yet missed the entire season and claims that the 16-week language is not clearly defined.

“It’s not right under the contract, not right under the spirit of the contract [and] it’s not right morally,” Urlacher’s attorney, David Rammelt of K&L Gates, told the Tribune.

While the parties fight over the contract terms, the lawsuit has the side benefit of providing memorabilia fans with a rare peek at a popular player’s contract.  CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell detailed the highlights, including that Urlacher must sign at least $225,000 worth of merchandise each year of the agreement, that his price per signature increases with the success of the Bears and that he can sign no more than 250 items per year for the Bears franchise.  He can, apparently, still sign fan autographs without insisting they immediately fork over $75.

Read Rovell’s full article here.   

Though the big figures of players’ non-field contracts are often touted, actual details are often scant. Urlacher’s had a tough few weeks, but gawkers will appreciate the glimpse into one of the side businesses of sports. 

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