Lance Briggs has gone to seven Pro Bowls and been through 11 NFL seasons, and he doesn’t sugar-coat things. So on the matter of making his first start in what will be nine weeks since fracturing his left shoulder, he was under no illusions.
“It’s going to be strap it on and see what happens,” Briggs said, smiling. “I’ve been playing football for a long time and it just so happens that we’re going against a [Philadelphia] team that runs 80 plays a game offensively so that’ll be interesting.”
“Interesting” may not be the exact word coaches and teammates may be hoping for, but the seven-time Pro Bowler did take an apparent step closer to returning as a starting linebacker Sunday in Philadelphia, practicing again on a limited basis but with the No. 1 defense, with a final decision still not in.
But “it looks like we're moving in the right direction," coach Marc Trestman said, adding, "If Lance has a chance to play, I think that lifts our football team."
The shoulder injury has taken about half-again as long to heal as the six weeks projected after the injury in the Oct. 20 game at Washington. At one point, the pace of recovery had the Bears considering placing Briggs on injured reserve.
Briggs said that the shoulder feels good, but no more so than just being back with his mates. “I was out running with the team last week, just nice to be out, calling the defense, running around trying to make plays,” Briggs said.
He has never missed this much time in-season. Briggs played no fewer than 14 games in his first 10 seasons and this has been a difficult time.
“As a football player, just feeling helpless not being able to do anything, not able to run, not able to lift, not able to do anything, just heal,” Briggs said. “Let your body heal itself and that’s been kind of tough.”