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(CBS) Before the start of the 2011 season, Bears linebacker Lance Briggs expressed his unhappiness with his current contract. He said he wanted a new deal or he wanted to play somewhere else.
Since the season started, pleas for a new deal for Briggs have switched to rally cries for a new contract for running back Matt Forte.
The Bears made Forte an offer, but he turned it down before the start of the season. Now, Briggs says a rift is developing between the players and management.
“In the past, things have just worked themselves out,” Briggs said in an interview with Comcast Sportsnet. “I think there’s a big transition going on right now in Chicago. The players and the management are not seeing eye-to-eye on a lot of different issues and a lot of different player’s situations. I don’t know where it’s going to go and how it’s going to pan out.
“Especially for a guy like Matt Forte, who is well-deserving of a new deal. I’d like to see that happen for him and for everybody, but it’s not going to happen for everyone.”
In fairness, the Bears offered Forte a contract worth roughly $30 million, but the running back was looking for something closer to $40 million.
In recent years, the Bears have had no problem rewarding players for their performance. They gave Cutler a $50 million extension after he came to Chicago, added millions to Devin Hester’s contract when he was unhappy, reworked Brian Urlacher’s deal and made Robbie Gould one of the highest-paid kickers in NFL history.
Still, Briggs said the off-the-field contract talks can affect on-the-field performance.
“I think it takes away from wanting to just go out on the field and play,” he said. “I think football is not like normal careers. It’s very short. It could end on any given day. For guys like us, it literally is a league about, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ It’s also about getting what you can while you can.”