Picked in the third round (68th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft, Lance Briggs agrees that the Chicago Bears know how to pick talent in the middle rounds. That bids well for the Bears considering they didn’t make their selection in the latest draft until the third round.
After working incredibly hard in high school in order to even be eligible for college, Briggs took his athleticism and talent to Dick Tomey in Tucson at The University of Arizona. A three-time All-Pac 10 first team inside linebacker there, the Bears saw a gem—an athlete with good size capable of switching to outside LB in perfect alliance with a talented inside LB named Brian Urlacher.
The Bears saw another monster for the Midway.
Since 2003, Briggs, along with Urlacher, has taken the Bears to the 2006 Super Bowl, while earning All-Pro honors three times along the way. He has been selected to represent the NFC in Honolulu four times as well.
Most of all, he’s been a staple on a defense that’s been, for the most part, very successful since he joined the huddle.
But also along the way, Briggs has been susceptible to controversy. From his refusals to attend mini-camp to his rants about the Bears’ lack of long-term loyalty (designated with the team’s franchise tag in 2007), Briggs has even had a very public run-in with the law after leaving the scene of a crash. The scene, as many people will remember, was a wrecked Lamborghini Murcielago on the side of a busy Chicago expressway.
For several moments, 2006-07 seemed as though it was a period of great misconception and confusion for Briggs just as it was for the public.
Who exactly is Lance Briggs—not the linebacker, but the mind under the helmet?
· Coming out of high school, your coach told you that, although you can serve as a runningback/fullback, you would gain fame at linebacker. Indeed, he was right. You’ve enjoyed much success with the Bears, as Chicago has been a great fit for you.
So, could you explain how you felt having 11 linebackers taken before you in the 2003 draft and how you feel now considering all the success you’ve had with Chicago?
· Part of that success that you’ve had is due to the great pieces that you supplement on the field as well as the pieces that supplement you. What do you think life in a Bears uniform would be like without a Brian Urlacher on the team?
· As you know, you play for a city who simply adores their hard-workers. In football, Chicago has adored their linebackers because the city has been blessed to have some of the best ever.
How do you gauge your success? And do you consider yourself a Monster of the Midway? Who’s on the Monster of the Midway Mt. Rushmore?
· Chicago has also been blessed to have numerous athletes and coaches turn into sports icons (Jordan, Payton, Sandberg, Ditka, etc.). Where do you see yourself as becoming a Chicago icon?
· In 2006, you missed mini-camp, which caused the initial reports that you were not happy with your contract situation. In early 2007, you openly discussed your discontent with possibly being franchised. After you were designated with the team’s franchise tag, you said it was obvious to you that you were “not in the Bears’ long term plans.” Your salary was also an issue.
Of course, the issue has since been resolved as you were re-signed to a six-year contract. But looking back to February and March 2007, you complained that the necessary longevity from the Bears to keep you in a Chicago uniform wasn’t there. Why was a longer contract so important to you that you felt it necessary to make the statements you did?
· That rift between you and the Bears was a first in several controversies that were to follow. After your discontent and very public trade demands that ensued, there was the whole tampering situation with the San Francisco 49ers.
Then, there was the legal trouble you gained from leaving the scene of a car crash in August 2007.
Because of the severity of these situations, that also happened to be very public, do you feel like there are misconceptions of who you are? If so, what are those misconceptions? Do you feel at all that race has played a role?
· Simply, how do you explain the problems that occurred with the defense last year? How was play-calling an issue in your opinion?
· How do you think Lovie taking over the play-calling will affect not only the defense, but the locker room as well?
· There has been plenty of criticism towards the Tampa 2—from fans to the players. What do you see as being a beneficial change to the Tampa 2 scheme? With only half a sack last year, would you want to blitz more?
· Much has been made in the offseason about the arguable holes at cornerback and safety. How do you see the position battles there?
· As far as yourself, where can you do better?
· Lastly, give it to me straight. How’s the hand?
· As mentioned a bit earlier, not too many people know that you can carry the football as well. Have you ever whispered in Lovie’s ear to put you in the offensive backfield once or twice?