Not long after linebacker Lance Briggs sounded off during preseason that he wanted either a new deal or a trade out of Chicago, he and General Manager Jerry Angelo had a closed-door talk. Briggs wasnt happy about his contract, which still had three years to run, and Angelo wasnt happy with the spot Briggs put him and the Bears in.
The problem wasnt that Briggs wanted the Bears to do something for him. It was that he went very public with a demand that forced the Bears to fold their arms and do nothing or else appear to be vulnerable to that sort of thing in the future from every player.
Theyd taken care of players like Brian Urlacher, Tommie Harris and others with time on their deals, and they were willing to do something right by Briggs, who would play his way to a seventh consecutive Pro Bowl. But they werent going to start re-doing deals with three years remaining and taking it public was the last way to make the case.
Briggs agreed and apologized.
Its always good when you talk something out face-to-face, man-to-man, and Jerry was right, Briggs told CSNChicago.com.
Settling the issue satisfied Briggs, who is expected to be given at least one added year to his contract, which currently runs through 2013. That will mean cash for Briggs and a secured franchise linebacker for the Bears.
Perhaps the best indicator of the decidedly un-acrimonious state of the Briggs-Bears relationship was apparent Thursday. Briggs was asked about his contract situation and things said earlier in the year.
Briggs playfully turned both podium microphones toward the questioner, and then had fun with paraphrasing the question to be his answer.
Could you repeat that question? I didnt catch the question, Briggs joked. I believe that you said, you said that earlier in the year you mentioned contract issues and you decided to put that under the rug and forget about that. It seemed to enhance my play this year. Do I hope the Bears get the message going into the offseason?
Im going to leave that as no comment.
Briggs was laughing as he said it. Players dont usually laugh about a dicey contract situation. Look for Briggs to be smiling even more broadly at some point prior to next years offseason program.