Report: Lance Briggs' Time With The Bears Is Over

Report: Lance Briggs' Time With The Bears Is Over

Early Thursday afternoon reports from the Chicago Tribune said the Bears are shopping veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

Not a few hours later, another report said that linebacker Lance Briggs will not be returning to the Bears next season. He was set to become a free agent with his contract expired.

One thing is for sure this Bears team will look plenty different under new general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox.

CSN Chicago reporter Jen Lada broke the news about the 34-year-old Briggs via Twitter, pointing to her sources who confirmed the move.

Briggs, who has spent all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Bears has been injured often the last two years. He made only 17 starts from 2013-14, racking up 105 tackles, three sacks, nine pass breakups, two forced fumbles and an interception.

He suffered a fractured shoulder which cost him seven games in 2013 and last season missed three games due to a rib injury and the final five games on the schedule with a pulled groin muscle.

Briggs defined what a Chicago Bear really was. He enjoyed 10 great seasons alongside his teammate and good friend Brian Urlacher. Up until 2013, Briggs recorded 100-plus tackles in nine consecutive seasons.

A 2003 third-round pick out of Arizona, Briggs compiled 1,501 career tackles. Tackles became an officially recorded stat in 1971 and since then he ranks second in franchise history trailing only Urlacher.

He was selected to Pro Bowl seven straight seasons from 2004-11. Briggs also finished first in tackles in five seasons (04′, 08′, 09′, 11 and 12).

Briggs expressed interest in returning to the Bears for a 13th season even with the switch to a 3-4 defense.

“In Vic Fangio’s defense, if he has a place for me, I’ll play it,” Briggs said on Jan.29 in Phoenix via the Tribune.

But he won’t get that chance and it remains to be seen if he will play for another team as his game has slowed way down the past two injury-riddled seasons.

Briggs leaves behind a legacy that might not be matched for some time. His six defensive touchdowns are the third most in franchise history behind Charles Tillman, 9, and Mike Brown, 7.

Five of the six were interception return touchdowns which places him third all-time in NFL history among linebackers in that category.

Alongside Urlacher, Tillman and all the other solid Bears defenders over the years, Briggs made his presence felt game in and game out. He made the city proud and played his heart out. He was a great run stopper and an above average pass defender which made him so successful.

Obviously there were a few bumps in the road when he threatened to never play for the Bears in 2007 and only months later crashed his Lamborghini into a light pole.

Even if Briggs did return to the Bears this upcoming season his role would have likely been reduced.

His best years are clearly behind him. He could easily latch on with another team, but he might not be a full-time starter there either. A reunion with Lovie Smith in Tampa makes the most sense, but any team running a 4-3 looking for veteran help could come calling.

Briggs finishes his impressive Bears career with 170 starts in 173 appearances along with 15 sacks, 16 interceptions, 78 pass deflections, 19 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. The tackles (1,501) and defensive touchdowns (5) are mentioned previously.

It shouldn’t come as a shock to any fan of the Bears of the NFL that Briggs won’t be back in Chicago. The same situation could likely happen with Tillman rather soon even with the Bears’ cornerback depth thin right now.

Thoughts on the Bears’ decision to let Briggs go? Do you think he has anything left in the tank as he turns 35 in November? 

Here’s an interview with Briggs from 2012 at the Madden Pigskin Pro-Am.

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