After Lance Briggs agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Bears through the 2014 season, the excitement in his voice Wednesday during a conference call with reporters was unmistakable.
“I’m grateful,” Briggs said. “I’m just very appreciative right now that the work has been recognized and that it got handled as fast as it did. My agent kind of hinted that he didn’t think it was going to take as long this time. We all had a number in our head and they had the same number, and we went ahead and made it happen.”
Briggs has been voted to the last seven Pro Bowls and has led the Bears in tackles four times, including three of the last four years. Last season the veteran weakside linebacker recorded a team-high 147 tackles with eight tackles-for-loss, one interception and two forced fumbles while starting all 16 games.
Veteran linebacker Lance Briggs has been selected to seven straight Pro Bowls.
Briggs is just the fourth linebacker in Bears history to be selected to seven straight Pro Bowls, joining Hall of Famers Bill George, Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary.
“We’re very excited for Lance and for the Bears,” said general manager Phil Emery. “Lance has been a very valuable and productive member of our team; seven straight Pro Bowls is quite a record of success. This is a very positive step for our team in our efforts to win championships.”
Since Briggs arrived in 2003 as a third-round draft pick, he has registered 1,286 tackles, 74 tackles-for-loss, 13 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries while starting 137 of 140 games played.
Briggs led the Bears in tackles in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011 while finishing second in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010. Since entering the league, the Arizona product leads the NFL in stuffs—a tackle of a rusher for negative yards—with 65½. He also tops NFL linebackers with three interception return touchdowns during that span.
With the new agreement, Briggs is confident that he will play his entire career in one uniform.
“My dream is to retire as a Bear, and I know that I will retire a Bear,” Briggs said. “I’m just excited right now. I’m so juiced that everything happened fast and I can focus on preparing for a championship year.”
Briggs is fired up not only about his contract extension but the moves the Bears have made in recent weeks. Since March 13, the team has acquired eight new players and re-signed five Bears free agents.
“It feels like a miracle with what they’ve done this offseason,” Briggs said. “It’s extremely aggressive. They went out and got a bunch of guys that are going to help us win a championship. I know that other teams looking in on the moves that the Bears have done this year know that we are a contender.”
This could be the best team that Briggs has played on since he joined the Bears in 2003.
"On paper, we're very talented," he said. "On paper, we can compete with any team. Would I call us the dream team? No, I would not. But I would say we're a championship caliber team. [Now] we have to go out and transition it to the field, and we need to go out and turn the paper into reality."