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The Bears don't appear to have any interest in discussing WLB Lance Briggs' request for a new deal or permission to seek a trade, and Briggs, who has three years left on his six-year contract, isn't hiding his disappointment with the situation or backing off his request.
Briggs has been named to six straight Pro Bowls and feels he has outperformed his contract. He has said, at minimum, he'd like the team to flip the salaries he's due in 2011 and 2013, so that he makes $6.25 million this season instead of $3.9 million.
Briggs said Monday that he contacted the team about his contract after last season, but his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, didn't officially request permission to seek a trade until late last week. The timing of the request — so close to the start of the regular season — seemed ill-conceived, and there's no end to the stalemate in sight.
Briggs vows to play as hard as he can, even if the demands are not met, but there's potential for his situation to be a distraction for him and his teammates. Briggs and some other players have pushed back against the notion that being disgruntled with one's contract takes a toll on a player's performance.
"I don't think that it's affecting anybody's play," Bears SS Chris Harris recently told PFW. "At the end of the day, we play for each other. We play for our teammates; we play for our coaches. Nobody's thinking about a contract situation when they're out there on the field, playing. It's irrelevant when you're on the field."