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Bears GM denies trade talks about Briggs

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (April 24, 2007) -- Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo denied the team has been involved in trade talks regarding disgruntled linebacker Lance Briggs.

"I've not heard anything official from anybody," Angelo said at a news conference to discuss this weekend's NFL draft.

Several reports claimed a handful of teams besides the Washington Redskins have talked to the Bears about trading for Briggs, who is guaranteed $7.2 million by the Bears this season as their franchise player.

Briggs is not taking part in the team's voluntary conditioning program at Halas Hall.

"To me, Lance's situation is that he's a part of our ball club and I assume Lance Briggs, No. 55, will be out there the first game," coach Lovie Smith added. "Once he has to be here, he'll be a part of it. That's how I'm looking at Lance Briggs."

Briggs wants to be traded or receive a long-term contract. The Redskins last month offered the Bears their sixth pick overall in the draft for Briggs and the Bears' 31st overall pick. The deal reportedly fell through when the Bears also wanted another player.

Although Angelo said he hasn't heard from the Redskins or another team in recent weeks, he said such talk usually heats up in the days preceding the draft.

"Could it happen? It could happen," Angelo said. "But I can't sit here and put a percentage on it one way or another. I'm not in control of that."

The Bears cannot initiate trade talk for Briggs because he is a franchise player.

Angelo said even though Briggs has threatened to hold out unless traded, his status doesn't necessarily impact the team's draft day decisions.

"We're looking at him as he's going to be on our football team," Angelo said. "We do have players that are capable of playing the position so we're OK that way too."

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