LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -Lance Briggs spoke in such glowing terms it was hard to believe he once vowed never to play again for the Chicago Bears. Then again, the Pro Bowl linebacker didn't rule out the possibility of trying on another uniform.
Briggs and the Bears already had one heated contract negotiation, and he's about to become an unrestricted free agent.
``I know I've definitely given my heart to Chicago and I wouldn't trade it for anything,'' Briggs said. ``I've had the best time. I've never been around a city that's so in tune to their team. It's been amazing. It's been a great ride.''
But is it ending?
nts the best deal possible.
``I have a lot on the line,'' Briggs said. ``The next play, you could get hurt. You could go from a person who could potentially make $50 million to a person that's going to end up making $30 million, which is a lot of money. But potentially, you could have made a lot more money. You want to maximize this business because you don't know when your last day is going to be.''
He hopes he can get that deal without changing addresses.
``I can see myself in a lot of uniforms,'' Briggs said. ``But honestly, I can see myself in a Chicago uniform if things work out that way, which I hope they will.''
It's a sharp turn for a player who once vowed never to suit up for the Bears again after they slapped the franchise player tag on him last offseason. That made it virtually impossible to leave as a restricted free agent and infuriated Briggs.
He vowed never to play again for them, then said he would hold out 10 games.
He also told them to remove the franchise tag or trade him, but the only deal he got was with the Bears.
Briggs accepted the franchise tender offer of $7.2 million just before the start of training camp after the team agreed it would not put the label on him after this season, meaning he'll become an unrestricted free agent. He also got a $1 million bonus.
Once he reported, Briggs started a media boycott that he interrupted - briefly - when he addressed reporters after crashing and abandoning his Lamborghini alongside a highway in the middle of the night in late August. He answered one question that day, did not speak to reporters again until October and had little to say until Wednesday.
His latest comments came on the heels of the Pro Bowl selection and a report in the Chicago Sun-Times this week that he's being sued by the mother of his 3-month-old baby for support.
If Briggs' time with the Bears is ending, he's not going quietly. And if his issues away from the field are a deterrent, his play is not. Briggs has 127 tackles, second on the team to Brian Urlacher's 138.
Yet, the Bears could be in for an overhaul once this disappointing season ends.
A long line of injuries and poor play on both sides of the ball left the defending NFC champions with a 5-9 record and no shot at the playoffs heading into Sunday's game against Green Bay.
The once-dominant defense was a mess.
The offensive line suddenly looked old this year, Cedric Benson found no room to run, and quarterback Rex Grossman struggled.
Now, the Bears have decisions to make. So does Briggs.
Grossman and his main deep threat, Bernard Berrian, have expiring contracts. So does special teams star Brendon Ayanbadejo, who made his second straight Pro Bowl.
``It gives me a lot of leverage to bargain with,'' Ayanbadejo said. ``But I feel like I'm a part of the legacy here and what this special teams unit has done. If I left, I don't know if I'd be the same player if I was somewhere else.''
Briggs said it's ``not for me to decide'' if the Bears need to make personnel changes, and he has no regrets about how he handled negotiations after last season.
``The business side is the business side, and when it comes to the offseason and the business, I'm going to handle it in a business fashion,'' he said. ``That's just a part of the game. That's just the way the business goes.''

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