Bears' Briggs bummed by lockout: 'Just have to stay strong'
By Vaughn McClure Tribune reporter 10:50 a.m. CDT, June 15, 2011
Although optimism abounds regarding the possibility of a new NFL labor agreement being reached in the next few weeks, Lance Briggs isn’t buying it.
When told of SportsBusiness Journal’s original report stating expectations are for the framework of an agreement to be reached in about two weeks, the Bears linebacker sighed.
To me, it is what it is,’’ Briggs said. "The thing that’s bothersome is not knowing what our schedule is going to be. Whether this thing is done in two weeks or done in a month, then where do we go from there? We obviously must start the next day.
"I don’t like the gray area. Not a fan of the gray area. I guess we just have to stay strong.’’
The Bears would have been in their third week of organized team activities, which were slated to start June 1 and end June 23, had there not been a lockout. Instead, defensive players such as Briggs are working out on their own waiting for a resolution, while Jay Cutler has organized offensive skill players for Tuesday and Thursday workouts at a suburban high school.
Briggs, who is working out in Tuscon, Ariz., missed out on a $250,000 workout bonus due for 85 percent OTA participation, something he discussed with the Tribune last month and continues to be disappointed about now.
"I don’t know what is going to happen with that bonus,’’ Briggs said. "I could use that money just as much as anybody else. That was definitely factored into my budget this year. But if I don’t get it, I don’t get it.
"More than anything else -- more than any bonus -- I just want to play football.''
Briggs recalled how former Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera once told him how the strike of 1987 helped make things better for today's players. Briggs hopes the same holds true now for the future.
"I want things to be right for players for as long as we play this game,'' he said. "If it happens that my son is blessed enough to play in the NFL, I want the things that we do now to affect him positively.’’
Briggs was asked if he was worried about the fans being turned off by this messy labor dispute.
"Fans have the right to be upset,’’ he said, "but when football resumes, you’re still going to have your team, your city to represent and cheer for. It’s not like we’ve missed a year. We haven’t missed a year ... yet.’’