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Briggs: 'I'll never play another down' for Bears

CHICAGO (March 13, 2007) -- Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs reiterated that he will not play another down for the Chicago Bears and is ready to sit out next season after they designated him as their franchise player.

"There are a lot of different options, a lot of different decisions, that could happen as the season comes closer," Briggs told ESPN. "But that's one of those options."

That came a day after he told Foxsports.com: "I've played my last snap for them. I'll never play another down for Chicago again."

Briggs first revealed his feelings last week, when he told ESPN.com the team should remove the label or trade him and then informed a Chicago radio station he would do "everything that's within my power" to leave the Bears.

The franchise tag guarantees Briggs $7.206 million next season -- the average of the top five salaries for players at his position -- but it also deters other teams from signing him. The Bears could match any offer for Briggs or receive two No. 1 draft picks. If he sits out next season, the Bears could use the franchise tag again.

A third-round draft pick from Arizona in 2003, Briggs earned $721,600 in the final season of his first NFL contract after he reportedly rejected a six-year, $33 million offer last spring. He told ESPN the deal was for seven years, and he turned it down because it was "below market value."

Briggs led the team with 117 solo tackles -- 24 more than six-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher -- and the Bears reached the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1985 team won it all. But it's been a tumultuous offseason for Chicago.

Running back Thomas Jones was traded to the New York Jets last week. Coach Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo recently received contract extensions, but Smith's came after his agent said talks had stalled and that his client would likely leave next season, after his contract expired.

Meanwhile, Briggs and the Bears are locked in a staredown.

Angelo has said he has no plans to trade Briggs. Although a holdout would be expensive, Briggs told Foxsports.com he'll take out a loan to cover his living expenses next season if necessary.

"The $7.2 million -- although it's a good number, it looks nice -- there's no job security in it," Briggs told ESPN. "I played four years as a third-round draft pick. I played four years as a third-round draft pick at the league minimum, and there've been no talks of a contract negotiation this year. ... In my opinion, there is no intention on a long-term deal here.

"And if you don't have me in your plans for the long term, then I don't want to be here."

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