Chicago Bears  

 

Briggs: 'I'm 100 percent a Bear, until I'm not a Bear anymore'

  • By Associated Press
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CHICAGO -- Unhappy with his contract, Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs told the Chicago Tribune that he's seeking permission to look for a trade.

"The Bears made their decision, now I have to make mine," Briggs told the newspaper. "It's just how the business works. It's not going to take away from what I do on the field. I'm 100 percent a Bear, until I'm not a Bear anymore."

Briggs said his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has filed a formal request to seek a trade.

A six-time Pro Bowl pick, Briggs has three years left on a six-year, $36 million deal and is scheduled to make $3.9 million this season, including bonuses. He recently approached the Bears seeking a raise, but management apparently isn't budging. The team has about $19 million in salary-cap room.

Rosenhaus didn't return a message from the Associated Press on Friday. The Bears had no comment.

This isn't the first time Briggs has butted heads with the team over a contract.

He vowed he would never play "another down for Chicago again" after the Bears slapped the franchise-player tag on him for the 2007 season. He wound up accepting a one-year, $7.2 million contract and agreed to the six-year deal in March 2008.

Briggs has seen other linebackers such as the New York Jets' David Harris (four years, $36 million with $29.6 million guaranteed) receive new deals this offseason, and he wants one himself. The Tribune reported he was willing to wait until the end of the season before asking permission to seek a trade but changed his mind after meeting with general manager Jerry Angelo on Sunday.

"I understand and respect their decision," Briggs told the Tribune.

He isn't the first Chicago linebacker to seek a salary bump.

Brian Urlacher received a one-year extension in 2008 that included a reported $18 million in new money. Of course, he's the face of the franchise.

Briggs, however, remains one of the most productive players on a team hoping to build on its run to the NFC Championship Game last season. He became the fourth Bears linebacker to make six consecutive Pro Bowls a year ago, joining Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, Bill George and Mike Singletary.

Briggs is recovering from a bruised knee and sat out the final three preseason games, but he expects to be ready for the Sept. 11 season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

Besides Briggs, running back Matt Forte is seeking a new deal. He's entering the final year of his rookie contract and trying to negotiate an extension.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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