Briggs was a guest of the Mike North Morning Show on WSCR 670AM on Monday morning, and the Pro Bowl linebacker announced that he is demanding a trade and no longer wants to play for the Chicago Bears. He was scheduled to become a free agent this offseason, but the team designated him as its franchise player in order to keep a Super Bowl defense intact. Briggs is guaranteed a hefty raise and entitled to a one-year tender offer of $7.2 million, but he has no intention of signing the offer and wants no part of the organization anymore.
Briggs has no bones to pick with his teammates and apparently enjoys playing for head coach Lovie Smith, but he has continually clashed with the front office.
"There's a difference between the Chicago Bears team and the Chicago Bears organization," Briggs told ESPN.com. "The Chicago Bears team? The coaches, players, city and fans? Yeah, I could stay there forever. I love it. But the Chicago Bears organization? I don't want to be there anymore. I won't play for them and I'll do everything in my power to keep from playing there."
Originally a third-round pick in 2003 out of Arizona, Briggs has blossomed into one of the best outside linebackers in the NFL. Playing alongside former Defensive Player of the Year Brian Urlacher, he has been a Pro-Bowler each of the last two seasons and would certainly have been one of the most highly-coveted free agents had he been able to hit the open market. GM Jerry Angelo had never used the franchise tag in his tenure in Chicago partly because of the animosity it can sometimes create between player and organization, but he was forced to do so after not being able to agree on a contract extension with Briggs and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, before the 2006 campaign.
The free agency period in the NFL opened on Friday, and Briggs was forced to sit back and watch as defensive players like Nate Clements and Adalius Thomas cashed in with big-money deals. Clements, a six-year cornerback with Buffalo, is now the highest-paid defender in the league after signing an eight-year, $80 million contract with San Francisco. Thomas - an outside linebacker like Briggs who has also been to two Pro Bowls - left Baltimore for New England and inked a deal believed to be worth $60 million over six years.
Briggs will be getting a 1000% raise should be sign the tender offer, but what he really covets is the long-term security players like Clements and Thomas now have.
Briggs acknowledged that the Bears have a good thing going, especially on defense, but he simply has to move on at this point.
"It's a great bunch of guys with a great future, but I can't see myself as being part of that future anymore," Briggs said. "Whatever options are available to me, I'll take advantage of them. But going back and playing for the Bears again, no, I don't see that as an option. Not one more day. Not at all."
If the Bears do not sign Briggs to a long-term deal by July 16th, he will be forced to play for the franchise number.
|John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.|