The Double Nickel Smokehouse got more publicity than its owner Bears Linebacker Lance Briggs expected on Monday.
The barbecue restaurant, located in the Elk Grove California Sports Center, ran out of nearly every main course on the menu. Still, Briggs found no comfort back in Chicago where he missed the team's shortened hour long practice.
"I guess my announcing the opening of my restaurant made bigger news than we kind of expected" Briggs told Chicago media on Wednesday. "It is what it is."
Briggs came under fire from former teammates Patrick Mannelly and Mike Brown on Chicago radio station WSCR 670 The Score, who were surprised he took off during game week for a business decision, even though his current teammates said they weren't concerned.
"I asked for a day off." Briggs said as to why head coach Marc Trestman granted his request to miss the first day of practice before the season opener against the Bills.
"I'm sure someone had a baby, or a family emergency where they had to go do something. I know guys that have gone on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fridays -- I know guys that have gone on game day," Briggs said, although he admitted he couldn't remember a teammate taking time off for a restaurant opening.
Bears head coach Marc Trestman did not know Briggs' reason for the request for a personal day made weeks ago, but trusted his veteran in "the best interest" of the team.
Briggs said "no" when asked if he told Trestman the day off was for the opening of the restaurant he part-owns.
He said his business partner and former Elk Grove High School classmate Cameron Lee picked Labor Day as the grand opening because most people don't work on Labor Day.
Teammates agree with Briggs that too much is being made of his absence since "install" for an opponent doesn't happen until Wednesday, plus Monday's practice was cut short to one hour. What bothers the 12-year veteran and seven time Pro Bowler is the second guessing.
"I think the question that is more important than that is as a guy that's more than 12 years, that I poured my heart out on the field every game and every play. I think if you're questioning whether I care more to be there than to be here, my history has always spoken for me," Briggs aid.
"This is the last year of my deal, so every moment, every game counts."