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BEARS LB Briggs will sign in time for Friday’s opening of Training Camp

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What’s going on: Cancel the postgame show, forget the talks about a no-show concerning Briggs, and call off all the shots and radio shows, giving analysts, and so-called “football experts” a chance to shut up, as they will continue to blast (no matter what) how Bears management is handling the bizzare situations of the eventful off-season regarding LB Lance Briggs and other “questioned” moves. You now can go on and talk about the Bears quest for another Super Bowl appearance (and victory this time around!) in Glendale, Arizona, the first Sunday in February, focusing on the best team in the NFC and their chances to make some history, becoming Champions of the NFL in 2007. Criticism and doubts have been many and few have been the great decisions made by Bears GM Jerry Angelo, who has been quietly having a good off-season (not in the public’s eyes though) selecting good draft picks, free-agent signings, getting done new contract extensions for key players, and getting all the rookies chosen in the draft signed before camp, early enough to make an impact (1st team to do so for second year in a row) , give credit to where its due along with contract negotiator Cliff Stein Chicago Bears. All is right with the Bears now and this team and front office has had a good, active off-season and it’s only getting better, as it will continue to improve day by day looking at the stars on this squad during camp on both sides of the ball. Biggest concern: Lance Briggs. Its soon to be officially over and out the window with the Bears moving on to “real” more important business and work, getting done and dirty at Training Camp.

The News: Weak-side LB Lance Briggs is expected to sign the one-year deal worth 7.2 million and show up Friday on time for CampJuly 27! It is reported that a teammate knows about the situation and the Pro-Bowl ‘backer will make the decision soon. One of the biggest questions facing the Bears all off-season has been when linebacker Lance Briggs will end his speculated holdout and return to the team; chances are likely that the holdout will not reach a single day. There was a strong connection displayed that the two sides either were coming close to a deal that would end a media-frenzy, ugly contract dispute, or just having the problem simply figured out and throw to the wayside. If this deal is reached and Briggs agrees to it, (he will soon) all the controversies earlier in the off-season will be forgotten, and the Bears franchise will forgive and move on. Contacted on his cell phone, Briggs said “no comment” when asked if he had agreed to ink the one-year contract (franchise tag) worth a guaranteed $7.2 million, to report on time Thursday for the start of training camp at Bourbonnais.

Stunningly, the Bears’ season and fortunes turned around in their favor and they received news that will make Defensive Coordinator Bob Babich, Linebackers Coach Hardy Nickerson, and fans of the Monsters of the Midway jump in jubilee, as a Bears teammate (Tommie Harris, Charles Tillman or Brian Urlacher?) who had discussed with both Briggs and a league source, stating the linebacker had agreed to sign the deal and prevent a holdout the Bears had been set to move on from.

Asked about the rumors Briggs had signed the one-year deal and report on time, the player said, “True.” Efforts to reach his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, were however, went unsuccessful. Rosenhaus and the Bears GM Jerry Angelo have continued to chat even after the July 16 deadline, as the agent seeked to complete a long-term deal done for Briggs. After a visit to Halas Hall last month, Rosenhaus said he had handed some creative ideas and offers to the team. Among them were said to be the possibility of paying Briggs a large portion of the $7.2 million up front, which would compensate as a smaller signing bonus. The Bears also have their eyes and mind set to take off the franchise tag on Briggs for 2008 if he agrees to end the talk/threats of sitting out for a long period of time or for any duration of the Training camp sessions; starting to travel on the road of success, that would conclude with a Super Bowl winning trip. A team source said it would be fair to say recent discussions left many in the organization upbeat that a deal could be completed in time for the start of camp.

It has been a busy month of planning ahead for the Bears, as they locked up cornerback Charles Tillman to a six-year extension, about a month after signing an extension with cornerback Nathan Vasher. All-World DT Tommie Harris is next in line waiting for the big long-term deal he deserves from the Bears GM Jerry Angelo, as it would make him a happy camper as a Bear for the majority of his football playing career.

In other news: The Bears signed Rookie second round draft choice – former “Chippewa” DE Dan Bauzin (Central Michigan) in time for the start of camp, the final draft pick to sign with the Bears.  As mentioned earlier in the article, that makes it the second straight year, in which the Chicago Bears have signed all picks before camp and they’ve done it the fastest among all teams once again.  Bauzin will give the Bears depth at DE and provide a solid backup on the left side of the d-line for DE Adewale Ogunleye.

With the signing of Charles Tillman, (great move) the Bears might not have envisioned themselves making a type of huge, unusual commitment to one position group (CB), but when Briggs turned down a long-term contract offer in 2006, the team said it was moving on to other key, core players on the NFL’s best Defense. Asked about Briggs during a teleconference, Tillman said, “I’m going to miss him.”

Friday July 27th sure looked like a date marked off on the calendar of Briggs just a couple days ago, but now he is going to cancel any, “unimportant” plans that were scheduled, disregarding the Chicago Bears, making himself available for camp, suiting up, prepared to take on tons of questions from media “bozos” – as he will sport #55 with the good ‘ole navy blue helmet, once again for the first time since SB XLII in Miami. Looks like Tillman and the rest of Bears Nation are surprising wrong – once Briggs signs and shows up for camp Friday ~ Bears fans and the team will not have any opportunity or time to “miss” this native from Sacramento, CA in ’07, they will see plenty of the same from last season from a big-hitting, All-Pro LB that makes highlight reel plays, holding up on his end of the bargain playing next to the best LB in the NFL, as he contributes to keeping the Bears elite Defensive unit intimidating every Sunday.


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