Lance Briggs spoke with media in a conference call Sunday evening.
Below is a transcript of the questions and answers.
DID YOU GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A WHILE AND HOW RELIEVED ARE YOU TO HAVE THIS OVER WITH?
I’m very relieved. I’m very, very relieved. I can take some time to plan out my future and know where I’m going to be. That’s always relieving.
DO YOU HAVE TO READJUST YOUR MIND SET NOW? I KNOW FOR A MINUTE YOU PROBABLY THOUGHT YOU WERE OUT OF HERE?
I’m familiar. That is one place that I am real familiar with. Adjusting to Chicago, I’ve been used to Chicago for the last five years so that’s not bad, not bad at all.
HOW CLOSE DID YOU COME TO SIGNING WITH ANOTHER TEAM?
I don’t know. Obviously, it’s free agency and it could have gone anyway at anytime. I don’t know how close. The deal was right for Chicago and that’s obviously a place I wanted to be so I pulled the trigger.
ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU ARE BACK WITH THE BEARS AFTER ALL THAT WAS SAID?
A little bit, a little bit. But all in all I’m happy I am back with the Bears.
WHY WASN’T THERE MORE OF A MARKET FOR YOU?
There were certain things that happened. Obviously, you know, I mean, I thought San Francisco was going to be a place I was going to be. New Orleans was another place that was high on me. But obviously, you see what happened, they traded for Jonathan Vilma, got a linebacker. Those are kind of the setbacks as far as free agency went.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST THING YOU LEARNED THROUGH THIS ENTIRE PROCESS?
Patience. You just have to have patience and just work through it, I guess. I don’t know. It’s a good place to be. It’s a very good place to be. It’s just sometimes not knowing can be nerve wrecking.
IS IT SURPRISING TO YOU THAT BERNARD BERRIAN GOT $1 MILLION MORE PER YEAR IN HIS CONTRACT?
Not at all. Not at all. Obviously, me and Bernard are two different people. I’m happy for him. I don’t look at it as a dollar or a numbers game. I’m happy for what I got.
CAN YOU COMPARE THE TONE OF THESE NEGOTIATIONS TO A YEAR AGO WHEN YOU GOT THE FRANCHISE TAG?
This time around, the cards are more in my favor. It’s really a decision that I make, not so much a decision that the Bears make on me. Last year, my chance of being free in the market was taken away because I was franchised last year. That goes along with my contract. My contract is very comparable to the Adalius Thomas, his contract a year ago. Like I said, I’m real happy for me and my market. Me and my market is where it should be.
HOW MUCH THOUGHT DID YOU GIVE TO WAITING AROUND FOR OTHER TEAMS TO GET IN THE BIDDING, OR WAS IT A CASE OF THE MONEY WAS GOOD NOW?
Right, right. That’s part of the process of dealing with my agent, you know what I mean. Drew knows when the deal is right. He came to me and let me know what the offers were and he said, `Hey, this is the right deal.’
SO YOU HAD OTHER OFFERS?
Obviously, there was more than one offer. But the deal that the Bears made made more sense.
WAS THAT THE SAME DEAL THEY MADE BEFORE FREE AGENCY? THE WORD IS THEY NEVER MOVED OFF THEIR INITIAL OFFER?
That was all part of negotiations. My agent negotiated. That’s part of free agency, you know, the Bears front office came up with a deal that worked and that’s where we are now.
THE YEARS AND THE MONEY SEEM TO BE ABOUT THE SAME. HOW IS THIS CONTRACT DIFFERENT FROM THE ONE THEY PRESENTED TO YOU ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO?
Well, this deal is a little more front-loaded. For the first, I want to say for the first four years, I’ll make $28.8 million which is good because it’s basically I’ll be making my franchise number each of those years. To me, it makes a lot of sense.
DO YOU THINK YOUR PLAY ON THE FIELD OR THINGS THAT HAPPENED OFF THE FIELD AFFECTED YOUR MARKET? IS THAT WHY YOU WEREN’T THE TOP FREE AGENT ON DEFENSE?
No. No. People approach free agency through me. Through me. You don’t want to overpay a top player because you have a lot of money in them and the guy can end up not living up to their expectations. No. Not at all.
YOU WERE DISAPPOINTED YOU WERE NOT DRAFTED HIGHER THAN THE THIRD ROUND. MAYBE THAT HELPED MOTIVATE YOU. ARE YOU MOTIVATED AGAIN BY NOT GETTING THE MARKET YOU THOUGHT YOU MIGHT?
I got the market that I felt like I was supposed to get. Like I said, I got the market. My contract is right in line with Adalius Thomas and his contract from last year. There’s three or four years that my contract is right in line with his. So I’m not mad. I’m happy.
IS IT IMPORTANT, AND YOU JUST SAID IT WAS IN LINE WITH ADALIUS’ CONTRACT, WAS IT IMPORTANT THAT YOU WERE AT LEAST IN THAT GROUP. WOULD ANYTHING LESS HAVE BEEN HARD TO SWALLOW?
Yes, I guess. You always believe you pay a man for his work. I never asked for anything more, anything less. Whatever the market is and whatever is fair.
ADALIUS THOMAS GOT $20 MILLION GUARANTEED WHICH IS MORE THAN YOU GOT. IS IT MORE THE YEARS ARE IN LINE OR WHAT?
Right, right. Obviously, he got that up front but you know through all the years the numbers are still the same.
ARE YOU MOTIVATED? THE DEFENSE IS TOGETHER?
Yeah, we’re real familiar with each other, with everything we do. Chicago is home and I know what to do. I think, yes, we’re in a position we need to keep the right core players and we can make another run.