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Monday, August 15, 2011
Lance Briggs supports Matt Forte

ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs is happy running back Matt Forte has not held out of training camp for a contract extension, but Briggs said it's time for the Bears to do the right thing and reward Forte.

"He deserves a deal," Briggs said Monday on "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN 1000. "He's earned the right to a bigger contract.

"He's outplayed the contract he currently has, and it's time for the organization to do right by the player."

Briggs understands Forte's frustration. Briggs threatened to sit out until the 10th week of the 2007 season before signing a one-year tender offer.

Forte had talked about possibly not playing in the Bears' preseason opener Saturday because he feared injury. But he did play while his agent and the Bears' front office negotiated.

Bears president Ted Phillips said on FOX's pregame show Saturday that he wants to get a deal done, but he said both sides have to be "realistic" because Forte is not an unrestricted free agent.

"I'm happy that he's here, but if he wasn't here, I'd understand," said Briggs, who has been voted to the last six Pro Bowls. "To me, I don't think he's trying to hurt the team by doing that, by doing what he feels he needs to do from a business standpoint.

"I just take a different stance because I've been there. I know what he's going through, and I know some of the frustrations he's going through. I understand. It's a business, and he can be cut at any time. They can take that money away from him. On the flip side, he has to protect himself."

Briggs doesn't buy the argument that Forte's value is diminished because of his position.

"Forte doesn't just run the ball, he catches out of the backfield," Briggs said. "You spread him out and he creates a mismatch against linebackers. He's dynamic, and what he means to the offense, he's high value."

Forte gained 1,069 yards last season and scored three touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 51 passes for 547 yards and three TDs.