Monday, March 12, 2007 Updated: March 14, 12:34 AM ET
Briggs 'prepared to sit' if Bears won't trade him
ESPN.com news services
The Bears left much of the league black and blue on the way to the Super Bowl last season, but Chicago's image is now getting bruised.
Top running back Thomas Jones was shipped to the New York Jets last week and now this week, Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs took his war of words to the next level.
"I am now prepared to sit out the year if the Bears don't trade me or release me," Briggs told FoxSports.com on Monday night. "I've played my last snap for them. I'll never play another down for Chicago again."
Frustrated that he couldn't work out an extension with the Bears and angered that the team slapped the franchise designation on him, Briggs told ESPN.com a week ago that a trade would be in the best interest of all parties.
Clayton: Briggs makes stand
Lance Briggs is trying to make the Bears as uncomfortable as possible, writes ESPN's John Clayton. Blog
In an interview with ESPN on Tuesday night, Briggs was a little more diplomatic than the night before, saying "there are a lot of options out there, but [sitting out] is one of them."
Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said last week that he felt the $7.2 million the team would pay Briggs next season was very fair.
"The $7.2 million -- although it's a good number, it looks nice
-- there's no job security in it," Briggs told ESPN on Tuesday. "I played
four years as a third-round draft pick. I played four years as a
third-round draft pick at the league minimum, and there've been no
talks of a contract negotiation this year. In my opinion, there
is no intention on a long-term deal here.
"And if you don't have me in your plans for the long term, then
I don't want to be here."
The linebacker reportedly turned down a seven-year, $33 million deal in March 2006. Now, he's ready to gamble again.
"People think I can't afford to sit out the year -- I can take out loans to get me through that year just fine because eventually I'll have a deal somewhere," Briggs told FoxSports.com. "There are things I can do to make sure I'm fine financially if I sit out. I can also decide what other course of action I can take as the season gets closer."
Money might not be the only reason Briggs wants out of Chicago. He said he wants to be the leader of a team and knows he'll never overtake Brian Urlacher in Chicago.
"I've talked to Brian about it," Briggs told FoxSports.com. "I'm a competitor and I want the same thing he has. I've learned a lot from Brian as a player and a leader and I eventually want to be 'the man' somewhere. I want to be like him and have everything put on me too. Obviously I'll never be able to do that there.
"Still, had the Bears made me a long-term offer that I found acceptable, I probably would have sacrificed this desire and stayed. I don't want to be somewhere I'm not wanted long-term."
ESPN asked Briggs if he was concerned that his stance would associate him with the likes of Terrell Owens.
"Obviously I'm not a T.O.," Briggs said. "I've never been a problem on my team. My names never come up as a disruptive guy on my team. I'm just a guy looking for a fair deal."
The Patriots signed linebacker Adalius Thomas to a $35 million deal, with $20 million guaranteed, this offseason. Briggs said he thinks the Bears aren't willing to pay him what the market commands.
"In football just like any other job, this is a business," Briggs said. "And I'm the CEO of my business -- Lance Briggs -- just as the Bears are the CEO of their business. And there are different ways of doing things. This is just one way of doing it. I wish it was different."
Things are definitely different for the Bears. Asked to characterize the offseason, Briggs said, "a lot of noise."
"A lot of things are going on," he said. "Regardless if I come back this season or not, it will definitely be a different team than last season."