The Chicago Bears and Lance Briggs have long had a very complicated relationship, but things took another interesting turn at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon when Briggs was remarkably frank with reporters while discussing the team’s upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers:
Briggs, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, has played his entire 12-year career with the Bears, culminating in a Super Bowl appearance in 2007, but the ride has been far from smooth. Whether it was crashing his Lamborghini on a Chicago expressway, demanding a trade from the team after he didn’t get a raise in 2011, or skipping practice to attend the opening of his new restaurant, Briggs’ tenure has been a volatile but productive one, and it appears that it may be coming to an end.
In the short term, Briggs’ admission should have little effect on the Bears. The focus right now is on whether or not he will be able to play against the Packers on Sunday, as he has missed the team’s last two games. Going up against a Packers team that moves the ball around the field with relative ease, it’s critical to have a player like Briggs out there to call plays, change up coverages among the linebackers, and be able to read plays once the ball is snapped to Aaron Rodgers.
In the long term, the question has to be asked: who will replace Briggs at the weak side linebacker position if he’s not back next season? There are a few in-house options to consider, with Jon Bostic likely the favorite and Khaseem Greene with an outside chance, but the Bears might have to address the position in the draft or through free agency. Safety could be addressed early in the draft (depending on where the Bears end up picking), but a player like Shaq Thompson out of the University of Washington could be a guy plugged into the lineup immediately.
That of course is at least eight games down the road. What matters right now is what Briggs is capable of doing on the field, but you have to wonder with this latest admission if his head is completely in the game at the moment.