Lance Briggs

Lance Briggs To Retire, Join CSN Chicago?

5:16pm: Strangely, Briggs’ agent says that the linebacker still wants to play football, as Jeff Dickerson of tweets.

2:51pm: Briggs clarifies (via that he has not filed any papers yet to make his retirement official, though he says he’ll make an official decision in “the coming weeks.” Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets that Briggs told him he’d submit the retirement paperwork in the next week or so.

2:26pm: Veteran linebacker Lance Briggs has announced his retirement from the NFL, confirming the decision during today’s Cubs/Reds broadcast on Comcast SportsNet. Briggs, who spent his entire playing career in the Windy City, will be joining CSN Chicago as a studio analyst for the 2015 season, participating in pregame and postgame coverage of the Bears.

“I’m excited to continue my partnership with Comcast SportsNet,” said Briggs, who has co-hosted CSN’s ‘The Lance Briggs Show’ with Pat Boyle since 2010. “I’ve had the good fortune of being a part of this network over the past few years. I credit Pat Boyle who immediately made me feel at home here and I always told him I wanted to be here after my career. It’s just a great atmosphere and I love being surrounded by some really great people. This was the right decision for me.”

Briggs, who turns 35 in November, played in 173 regular season games for the Bears in his 12 NFL seasons, earning seven Pro Bowl appearances and making a case to be considered for the Hall of Fame. The Bears, however, opted to go in a new direction this offseason and in early March they informed him that he wouldn’t be returning for another season.

Briggs, who entered the league as a third-round pick in 2003, was a key piece on the defensive side of the ball for the Bears for more than a decade. Known for being tough and durable throughout his career, Briggs has missed 15 of 32 games across the last two seasons. That’s a stark contrast to the four total contests he missed in his first 10 seasons.

After accumulating more than 1,100 tackles, 16 forced fumbles, and 16 interceptions during his career with the Bears, Briggs drew some interest from the 49ers this offseason, as San Francisco saw its linebacking corps depleted by retirements. However, the Niners never reached an agreement with Briggs, and now the former third-round pick will remain in Chicago as he moves onto the next phase of his career.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Armstead, Briggs, Saints

Here’s a look at the latest regarding a pair of NFC teams:

  • The 49ers are hoping their roster is so deep that first-round defensive end Arik Armstead doesn’t start contributing on the field until 2016, according to of Paul Gutierrez Armstead might have to make his mark this year, though, as the 49ers’ defensive line took a big hit with the recent retirement of Justin Smith. Veteran Darnell Dockett is expected to be San Francisco’s No. 1 right end, which could leave the left side open for Armstead, Gutierrez notes.
  • Smith’s retirement freed up cap room for the 49ers, but Gutierrez doesn’t necessarily think they’ll use it this year. The team could sign free agent linebacker Lance Briggs, whom it has expressed interest in, but Gutierrez doesn’t expect it to happen unless Briggs comes cheap. Moreover, the Niners have 13 players entering contract years – Aldon Smith, Alex Boone, Anquan Boldin, and Vernon Davis among them – so they have to watch out for the long term.
  • Quarterback Ryan Griffin‘s roster spot with the Saints is in jeopardy after they used a third-round pick on Garrett Grayson. Nonetheless, Mike Triplett of believes Griffin still has a chance to beat out Luke McCown as one of the team’s top three QBs. The winner of the Griffin-McCown battle will likely be the No. 2 behind Drew Brees, leaving Grayson to develop as a No. 3, while the Saints are expected to be cut the loser.
  • Free agent wide receiver Kris Durham told Sirius XM NFL Radio that he worked out for the Saints, writes Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. It was reported earlier this week that Durham worked out for the Cowboys. The four-year veteran has played for the Seahawks, Lions, and Titans during his career, hauling in 55 passes and three touchdowns.

49ers Still Interested In Lance Briggs

We haven’t heard much regarding the 49ers’ courtship of linebacker Lance Briggs in some time, but that doesn’t mean that it has fizzled out any. The 49ers remain interested in signing the seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker, a source tells Matt Maiocco of

Briggs, 34 (35 in November), played his whole career with the Bears, playing in 173 games and earning seven Pro Bowl appearances while making a case for the Hall of Fame. The Bears, however, opted to go in a new direction this offseason and in early March they informed him that he wouldn’t be returning for another season. Briggs, who entered the league as a third-round pick in 2003, was a key piece on the defensive side of the ball for the Bears for more than a decade. Known for being tough and durable throughout his career, Briggs has missed 15 of 32 games across the last two seasons. That’s a stark contrast to the four total contests he missed in his first ten seasons.

In late March, San Francisco brought Briggs in for a tryout and, until today, there wasn’t any word on where Briggs stood with the team. It sounds like Briggs could still be brought in to provide the 49ers with veteran depth, though he likely wouldn’t be counted on for the kind of production he offered years ago. After Patrick Willis‘ and Chris Borland‘s sudden retirements in March, the Niners could use some reinforcements at inside linebacker.

NFC Notes: Huff, Mosley, Saints, Glennon, Long

Eagles receiver Josh Huff gives his opinion on a number of the team’s offseason moves to Tim McManus of Huff, who played for Chip Kelly at Oregon before coming to Philadelphia, has an interesting perspective on Kelly’s thoughts about each move.

Here are some other notes from around the NFC:

  • After losing Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley this offseason, it was expected that the Lions would attempt to re-sign defensive tackle C.J. Mosley. The team has not pursued him yet, and Kyle Meinke of believes his suspension for marijuana possession the caused him to miss a game against the Falcons last season could be a reason why the team is hesitant to bring him back.
  • The Saints are caught in between win-now and rebuilding mode after a disastrous 2014 season. They traded away their best receiving threat in Jimmy Graham, but still have franchise signal caller Drew Brees at the helm. They are the only team with five selections in the first three rounds, and have the ammo to rebuild quickly despite their cap troubles, writes Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.
  • If the Buccaneers do select Jameis Winston with the first overall pick, quarterback Mike Glennon will become available for a trade, writes Pat Yasinskas of He writes if any team wants Glennon, he could be had as the team would just sign another veteran backup to replace him.
  • The Rams have yet to pursue offensive tackle Jake Long in free agency, and Nick Wagoner of doesn’t see the Rams or any team actively trying sign Long at this point in the offseason. Wagoner cites his injury concerns as a reason teams would not be rushing to sign the former All-Pro tackle.
  • The 49ers may have a pair of starting inside linebacker despite the retirements of Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, but NaVorro Bowman is coming off an injury and Michael Wilhoite is still relatively inexperienced. Paul Gutierrez of believes that Lance Briggs could be an interesting option to add to their depth, as he would not command big money but is looking to continuing his NFL career.

49ers Notes: Crabtree, Nicks, Briggs

Sometimes, holding out for more can be the wrong move. Sources around the league believe that the market on Michael Crabtree has crashed and feel that it is no longer near the level that he expected, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. No. 15 expected to be a $9-$10MM player, but he now looks like he’s poised for a smaller one- or two-year make good deal. Also hurting Crabtree is the depth of the wide receiver position in this year’s draft. With many WR needs filled around the league and great young talent around the corner in May, the former 49ers star is in a tough spot. More out of SF…

  • When the 49ers brought in wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and linebacker Lance Briggs, it was for a tryout and not just a meet-and-greet, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter). Nicks just turned 27 in June and has a pair of 1,000-yard seasons on his resume, but seem to be generating a ton of interest on the open market at present. Briggs played his whole career with the Bears, playing in 173 games and earning seven Pro Bowl appearances while making a case for the Hall of Fame.
  • Cornerback Marcus Peters, regarded by many as the top player at his position in this year’s class, has a pre-draft visit scheduled with 49ers in April, according to Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee. Over the last season and a half, the physical corner has eight interceptions and 24 pass defenses.
  • West Georgia defensive lineman Tory Slater will meet with the 49ers, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Slater recorded 69 tackles, 16.5 for losses and 10 sacks last season.

Lance Briggs To Visit 49ers

Linebacker Lance Briggs is scheduled to meet with the 49ers on Monday, according to Vaughn McClure of

Briggs played his whole career with the Chicago Bears, playing in 173 games and earning seven Pro Bowl appearances while making a case for the Hall of Fame.

However, it has already been made clear that he would be not returning to Chicago for the 2015 season. The team is ready to move on from Briggs, who struggled with injuries the past two seasons, as they try to rebuild their defense under new head coach John Fox.

The 49ers have expressed interest in a number of linebackers since the surprise retirements of Patrick Willis and Chris Borland. Aside from Briggs, the team has also been linked to Erin Henderson and Mason Foster.

Briggs has also drawn interest from the Cowboys and Buccaneers, where he is familiar with head coach Lovie Smith.

49ers Eyeing Free Agent Linebackers

12:52pm: The 49ers are also considering longtime Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, who says the team has discussed the possibility of signing the veteran free agent. Barrows also notes that the club is looking at another FA linebacker, former Buccaneer Mason Foster.

10:04am: Earlier this offseason, the 49ers brought in one former Viking who has run into off-field legal troubles, when they signed wide receiver Jerome Simpson. Now, the team appears to be eyeing another player who fits that bill.

Former Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson had a private workout in Arizona this weekend separate from the veterans combine, reports Josina Anderson of (all Twitter links). According to Anderson, representatives from a number of teams attended Henderson’s workout — one of those teams was San Francisco, and Henderson has lined up a visit with the 49ers later this week. Henderson’s meeting with the Niners was first reported by NFL Draft Diamonds.

The Niners are in need of linebacker help, particularly on the inside, after both Patrick Willis and Chris Borland unexpectedly announced this month that they’d be retiring from the NFL. A report in early March indicated that San Francisco was shopping Michael Wilhoite, who stepped in last year as a starter when Willis and NaVorro Bowman went down with injuries, but now it appears the team may keep Wilhoite around. The Niners figure to add some depth to complement Wilhoite and Bowman.

Henderson, 28, is a talented player, having racked up 112 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions for the Vikings in just 14 games in 2013. However, he has been arrested multiple times for DUI-related incidents, and has been suspended by the league for his off-field behavior. The Maryland product didn’t play in the NFL in 2014 following his latest legal issues.

Lance Briggs Won’t Return To Bears

He won’t be released, like many other long-tenured players have been within the last week or two, but veteran linebacker Lance Briggs won’t return to the Bears for the 2015 season, reports Jen Lada of (via Twitter). Briggs is eligible for free agency, and it appears he’ll hit the open market and sign elsewhere.

Briggs, who entered the league as a third-round pick in 2003, has spent all 12 of his NFL seasons in Chicago, appearing in 173 total regular season games (170 starts) for the Bears. A Pro Bowler for seven straight seasons from 2005 to 2011, Briggs was a key piece on the defensive side of the ball for the Bears for more than a decade.

Within the last two seasons, however, the usually durable Briggs has missed 15 of 32 games, after missing just four total contests in his first 10 seasons. The veteran defender will also turn 35 this November, and the Bears – like they did with Brian Urlacher and Devin Hester in recent years – seem to have made the decision to move on.

Given the mileage he has piled up over the last 12 years, Briggs may not be viewed as a starter or a regular contributor by potential suitors this month, but I expect he’ll generate some interest as a part-time player and a source of veteran leadership. A reunion with former Bears head coach Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay is one possibility, though having played for 12 seasons, Briggs has connections to a number of other coaches around the league as well.

Combine Pressers: Bears, Bucs, Titans, Bills

Earlier today, we rounded up the noteworthy comments made by a handful of head coaches and general managers who spoke to reporters today in Indianapolis at the NFL’s scouting combine. Wednesday’s press conferences will continue through to about 3:30pm central time, and we’ll keep providing recaps of the highlights from those sessions. Here’s the latest:

Bears head coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace:

  • Asked about whether he has decided to proceed with Jay Cutler as the team’s quarterback, Fox replied, “We’re not up against a deadline. … We’ll keep you posted.” Fox later continued: “I don’t think there’s any question there’s ability and talent there but there’s a lot more that goes into it.”
  • In addition to dancing around questions about Cutler, Fox was also noncommittal when asked about Brandon Marshall.
  • Like Fox, Pace didn’t put his full support behind either Cutler or Marshall — the new GM didn’t call Cutler the team’s starting QB, and said the team would “take our time” with evaluations. As for Marshall, Pace suggested football needs to be the wideout’s top priority, in reference to Marshall’s 2014 gig with “Inside the NFL.”
  • The Bears head coach confirmed that he met with Josh McCown today and that the club has interest in him. “He’s the right kind of guy… that you want on your football team,” Fox said of the former Buccaneer. Pace also had praise for McCown, suggesting he’s capable of being a starter or backup for an NFL team.
  • Fox also confirmed that the Bears will be switching to a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Defensive ends like Jared Allen and Willie Young are expected to get a look at the outside linebacker position in the new system.
  • Fox and his staff are still evaluating players like Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs, so there’s no decision on whether to bring them back, but they’ve been “great Bears,” says the head coach. Pace added that the decisions on Tillman and Briggs will be big ones for the team.

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht:

  • The Bucs are leaning toward keeping the first overall pick, but are open to all options and aren’t closing any doors, according to Licht. As for who the Bucs will select with that No. 1 pick? “We have a favorite, but we want to let the process play out,” said the GM, adding that it would be an “insult” to say it’s 50-50 between Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota based on the team’s research and draft meetings to date.
  • For what it’s worth, Lovie Smith said earlier today that the Bucs would be comfortable making Winston the “face of the franchise,” and previous reports have indicated that Tampa Bay prefers the Florida State signal-caller. Licht said today the Bucs will have “several meetings” with both Winston and Mariota.
  • Veteran guard Logan Mankins is part of the solution in Tampa Bay, not part of the problem, according to Licht, who says Mankins has a future with the team.
  • While Licht reiterated the team’s support for Mike Glennon, he said he remains open-minded about discussing trades and moving players in general.

Titans GM Ruston Webster and head coach Ken Whisenhunt:

  • The Titans like Zach Mettenberger but haven’t yet committed to him as the 2015 starter, and will fully consider Jameis Winston and/or Marcus Mariota with the No. 2 overall pick, according to Webster.
  • Although the QBs are receiving most of the attention at the top of the draft, Webster said today that there are several other players the Titans feel are worthy of the second overall pick. The lines of communication are also open for Tennessee in terms of trading the selection to another team. Whisenhunt added that a “defensive difference-maker” would be an option for the club at No. 2.
  • The general manager expects the club to try to fill some holes through free agency, but cautioned that the most effective way to build a strong roster is through the draft.
  • While the Titans will work through their defensive coaching roles this spring, Whisenhunt said today that new senior assistant Dick LeBeau will have control of the unit, and that defensive coordinator Ray Horton is comfortable with LeBeau’s hiring and his role.

Bills head coach Rex Ryan:

Combine Pressers: Steelers, Bucs, Broncos, 49ers

48 head coaches or general managers are scheduled to speak today, tomorrow, and Friday at the NFL’s scouting combine in Indianapolis, with the Eagles, Saints, and Patriots the only teams not represented on this year’s schedule. Those mini-pressers are already underway, so let’s round up a few of the notable comments made by the men who have spoken to the media so far. All links go to the Twitter accounts of various NFL reporters in attendance….

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert:

  • Contract talks between Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are “progressing,” according to Colbert. With Big Ben heading into the final year of his current deal, the two sides are expected to work out a new agreement at some point during the offseason, and the GM is very confident it can be done within a traditional cap structure.
  • Despite the fact that LeGarrette Blount ultimately played a major role for the Super Bowl champion Patriots, Colbert said today that he and his club have no regrets about parting ways with the running back during the season.
  • While Colbert said he’d love to bring back free-agent-to-be Jason Worilds, he didn’t convey a ton of confidence that something will get done, telling reporters, “Maybe he comes back, maybe he moves on.” Per Colbert, the outside linebacker may need to test the open market to gauge his value.

Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith:

  • Calling Josh McCown a “lifelong friend,” Smith said he thought it was in both the team’s and the quarterback’s interests to part ways earlier this month.
  • The Buccaneers’ new coaches like Mike Glennon, so the plan right now is to move forward with Glennon at quarterback — he’s the only signal-caller on the roster at the moment, but Smith thinks he has the potential to be a solid NFL starter.
  • While Glennon may be atop the Tampa Bay depth chart by default for now, Smith also addressed the idea of selecting a quarterback with the first overall pick in April. According to the head coach, the Bucs aren’t put off by Jameis Winston‘s off-field issues, and would be comfortable with the idea of making him the face of their franchise. The vetting process for both Winston and Marcus Mariota is ongoing, and Smith says the team has already “talked to a lot of people” about both prospects.
  • Asked about Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs, two potential free agents whom used to play for Smith in Chicago, the head coach said he’s not sure how much interest they’ll generate, but he believes they can still be positive contributors.

Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak:

  • Although Kubiak said he has received no assurances that Peyton Manning will be back with the Broncos, all indications are pointing toward him returning. The new Denver head coach talked about adjusting his offense to suit Manning’s skills, which strongly suggest he expects to be coaching the future Hall-of-Famer.
  • According to Kubiak, he had a “good conversation” with Wes Welker, who says he’s feeling good and wants to play in 2015. Of course, the receiver doesn’t have a contract yet, so there’s no guarantee he’ll continue playing for the Broncos. Denver would “love to have him back” though, says Kubiak.
  • Kubiak expects the transition from a 4-3 defense under Jack Del Rio to a 3-4 scheme under Wade Phillips to go fairly smoothly.

49ers GM Trent Baalke:

  • Baalke intends to meet with veteran defensive end Justin Smith after the combine to determine whether or not Smith wants to return for a 15th NFL season in 2015.
  • Asked about wide receiver prospects at the combine and in the draft, Baalke said, “It’s no mystery, we’re looking for guys who can run.”
  • Baalke declined to comment on Jim Harbaugh‘s recent suggestion that the former head coach’s departure from the 49ers was the team’s decision and not his own. “He’s moved on and we’ve moved on,” the GM said.
  • According to the Niners GM, the team’s head coaching job was offered to “one person and one person only” (Jim Tomsula), meaning the club never officially offered the position to Adam Gase. Baalke did confirm that the Niners made an effort to retain defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, but that was dependent on who became the head coach.