|After threatening season-long holdout, Briggs now wants to stay with Bears|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 10 October 2007 10:56|
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -Lance Briggs once said he'd never play another down for the Chicago Bears. Now, he apparently wouldn't mind sticking around.|
``Absolutely,'' he said.
The Pro Bowl linebacker said he ended his media boycott Wednesday because the league intervened. He reversed course from his comments in the offseason, when he blasted management for labeling him a franchise player and threatened a prolonged holdout.
``I'd love to be here,'' he said. ``I've always wanted to be here, regardless of what I've said. I've always wanted to be here.''
He said the opposite in the offseason, after he made the Pro Bowl for the second time and helped the Bears reach the Super Bowl. The team slapped the franchise tag on him, and things turned ugly.
Briggs told a Chicago radio station and several national media outlets that he was done with the Bears. He threatened to hold out for the entire season and then for 10 games. He also told the Bears to remove the franchise tag or trade him, but a potential deal with Washington never materialized.
He finally accepted the franchise tender offer of $7.2 million just before the start of training camp in late July after the team agreed not to put the label on him after this season. The Bears also gave him a $1 million bonus.
Once he reported to camp, Briggs cut off communications with the media because ``I really don't have a whole to say. I think I said enough in the offseason that will last me a lifetime.''
He did address reporters after he crashed and abandoned his Lamborghini alongside an expressway during the middle of the night in late August, but answered just one question about whether the incident changed him. Briggs was placed under court supervision for a year and was ordered to perform 120 hours in community service last week.
He said some comments attributed to him during the offseason were inaccurate, but would not specify which ones.
``There are a lot of things that were written and said, some things that apparently I said that didn't come out of my mouth in the offseason,'' Briggs said.
He said he ended the holdout before it really began because ``at that point, that was the decision that was best for me. I went back and forth with my agent (Drew Rosenhaus) on what I was going to end up doing.''
What made him change his mind?
``That's private,'' Briggs said. ``That's between me and my agent. At the time, it was the best decision to make.''
Asked if he needed to make amends with Bears management, he said, ``You patch it up every week you play. You go out and you play.''
To that end, Briggs is doing a good job.
He had 19 total tackles, 15 solo, in last week's 27-20 victory at Green Bay after missing the previous game with a hamstring injury.
``The guy continues to amaze all of us,'' linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer said. ``Those open-field tackles are the hardest ones to make. He makes it look easy.''
And Hillenmeyer made it clear what happened in the offseason did not change teammates' opinions of Briggs.
``We wanted him back because he's a friend, he's a great player - all those things,'' Hillenmeyer said.
In 2006, Briggs earned $721,600 in the final season of his first NFL contract after he reportedly rejected a six-year, $33 million offer. He went on to register a career-high 176 tackles last year, and now he's repairing whatever damage the offseason drama did to his stock.
Briggs still wants a long-term deal and he even invoked Buffalo tight end Kevin Everett's name while explaining why.
``You never know what's going to happen,'' Briggs said. ``You take Everett from Buffalo. Linebackers, we run full speed and hit people every play. There's nothing wrong with wanting long-term stability.''
Time will tell if he gets that from the Bears or another team.
``It's not up to me,'' Briggs said. ``You have to ask the person upstairs.''
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