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Briggs Burning Bridges

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Mar 13, 2007 11:18PM

2007_03_sports_briggs2.jpgWhen we were unhappy with a previous job, our dad gave us a bit of advice about not burning bridges. Even if the situation at the time wasn't ideal, at least it came with a paycheck. And one never knew how actions could impact things — either within that organization, or with others who might move on and could be of help down the road. Unfortunately, Bears linebacker Lance Briggs didn't seem to get the same advice from his dad.

Briggs — not happy with the Bears since they placed the "franchise" tag on him — continued to alienate himself from the Bears organization, as well as the fans and his teammates, by ever so clearly expressing his unhappiness with the national media.

In a interview, Briggs told FoxSport's Jay Glazer, "I am now prepared to sit out the year if the Bears don't trade me or release me. I've played my last snap for them. I'll never play another down for Chicago again."

He went so far as to even suggest he'd take out loans to make ends meet if he had to sit out the 2007 season. "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 "There are things I can do to make sure I'm fine financially if I sit out."

One, even if he played at the league minimum for his draft status and seniority as he contended in a Tuesday evening interview on ESPN's SportCenter, how has he not put enough away to live for a year without a paycheck? Um ... Lance, your career could end any day. Sock a little away just in case ... it might also come in handy should your try to carry out your threats.

Since he clearly hasn't saved for a rainy day, we can only imagine how he can cut back to get by. Maybe stock up on ramen at Costco? Trade in his Hummer for a used Prius? Head to Old Country Buffet with friends rather than Gibson's? How long before such belt tightening convinces Briggs that maybe a $7.2 million salary isn't so bad.

Not that we're placing all the blame on Briggs for this situation. We do not understand why, when the Bears have a Pro Bowl linebacker who is still only 26, they wouldn't step up the plate and offer him the long term deal his play justifies. They made one $33 million, 7-year offer before last season, and that was below market. Yet another stellar year, and his value is that much higher now.

Ultimately, no matter how this situation plays out, both the Bears and Lance Briggs end up looking bad. Either Briggs backs down and plays, or he sits out and demonstrates that money's more important than a shot at the Super Bowl. Either the Bears hold firm and risk running one of their best players out or town, or they end up paying up and looking bad for using the "franchise" tag to gain additional leverage instead of simply making a fair offer in the first place.

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