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Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Lance Briggs defiant about absence

By Michael C. Wright
ESPN.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Despite first clearing the move with coach Marc Trestman, Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs missed practice Monday, returning on Wednesday amid questions about that absence, as it was later learned he skipped the workout for the grand opening of his new restaurant, Double Nickel Smokehouse, in Elk Grove, California.

Briggs admitted to never telling the coach why he needed the day off, explaining later that the real preparation for Sunday's matchup against the Buffalo Bills doesn't actually start until Wednesday, while citing his credentials as a 12th-year veteran.

"Well, I didn't make the decision [on the day he missed]," Briggs said. "My partner made the decision. But it was Labor Day, and on Labor Day, as you know, most people do not work."

Asked whether he understood how his absence -- on the first day of preparation for Sunday's matchup -- could draw criticism, Briggs remained defiant.

"The question that's more important than that is as a guy who has been here over 12 years, I've poured my heart out on the field every game and every play," Briggs said. "So I think if you're questioning whether I cared more to be there than to be here, my history has always spoken for me. You can take that how you want to."

Briggs hasn't yet spoken to Trestman about his absence or the reasoning behind it.

Lance Briggs
Bears LB Lance Briggs skipped Monday's workout for the grand opening of his new restaurant.

"Back when I approached Trestman about it, I asked if I could have a personal day. He said OK. Monday was an hourlong practice. Typically, in the NFL, you install your game plan starting on Wednesday. You put in your first and second down. This is typical throughout the league," Briggs said. "Your third-down and blitz package [are] on Thursday, and your short-yardage and goal-line stuff on Friday, and your review on Friday. Then you have a walk-through and review on Saturday before you play the game. For me, the grand opening on Monday was an opportunity, and I asked him."

Trestman, meanwhile, was asked whether he now wishes he had known why Briggs asked for a personal day.

"I can't answer your question in terms of the way Lance approached it," Trestman said. "I just stand by what I've said with each and every player that has missed a practice. I listen to what they have to say. I always call it a personal decision because I don't think it's my business or anybody's business from my end from a player's standpoint. Every decision we make is made for the best interest of the team. A lot goes into that. I don't know how it's been interpreted. But I know that we give great thought in everything we do. We don't just shoot from the hip and make decisions at the spur of the moment."

Briggs, 33, enters the final year of a three-year extension signed in 2012 worth $17.5 million and is coming off a subpar 2013 campaign in which he played in just nine games because of a shoulder injury.

Asked about what Trestman's willingness to grant a personal day off on the first day of preparation for a Week 1 matchup says about the coach, Briggs said, "He's just trusted. I asked him for a personal day. He said, OK. I guess my announcing the opening of my restaurant made bigger news than we kind of expected. Right now, we're here on Wednesday preparing for the Buffalo Bills."