Briggs asks Bears for permission to seek trade
Unhappy with his contract, Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs told the Chicago Tribune he is seeking permission to look for a trade.
''The Bears made their decision, now I have to make mine,'' he told the newspaper. ''It's just how the business works. It's not going to take away from what I do on the field. I'm 100 percent a Bear, until I'm not a Bear anymore.''
He said agent Drew Rosenhaus has filed a formal request to seek a trade.
A six-time Pro Bowl pick, Briggs has three years left on a six-year, $36 million deal and is scheduled to make $3.9 million this season, including bonuses. He recently approached the Bears seeking a raise, but management apparently is not budging. Chicago has about $19 million in cap room.
Rosenhaus did not return a message from the Associated Press on Friday. The Bears had no comment.
This isn't the first time Briggs has butted heads with the team over a contract.
He vowed he would never play ''another down for Chicago again'' after the Bears slapped the franchise-player tag on him for the 2007 season. He wound up accepting a one-year, $7.2 million contract and agreed to that six-year deal in March 2008.
Briggs has seen other linebackers such as the New York Jets' David Harris (four years, $36 million with $29.6 million guaranteed) get new deals this offseason and wants one himself. The Tribune reported he was willing to wait until the end of the season before asking permission to seek a trade but changed his mind after meeting with general manager Jerry Angelo on Sunday.
''I understand and respect their decision,'' Briggs told the Tribune.
He is not the first Chicago linebacker to seek a salary bump.
Brian Urlacher got a one-year extension in 2008 that included a reported $18 million in new money. Of course, he's the face of the franchise.
Briggs, however, remains one of the most productive players on a team hoping to build on a run to the NFC championship game last season. He became the fourth Bears linebacker to make six straight Pro Bowls a year ago, joining Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, Bill George and Mike Singletary.
He is recovering from a bruised knee and sat out the final three preseason games, but he expects to be ready for the opener against Atlanta on Sept. 11.
Besides Briggs, running back Matt Forte is seeking a new deal. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is trying to negotiate an extension.