(CBS) In a decision that was expected, veteran linebacker Lance Briggs won’t return to the Bears in 2015, CSN Chicago reported Thursday afternoon, as the team informed him it won’t extend a new contract offer.

Free agents can start signing with new teams Tuesday afternoon, when the new league year begins. Their agents can begin negotiating with teams Saturday.

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Briggs has been a force in his 12-year career in Chicago, reaching the Pro Bowl seven times. In an nine-year stretch from 2004-’12, he amassed more than 100 tackles eight times.

The 34-year-old Briggs struggled in 2014, noticeably losing a step and missing the final five games with a groin injury. He had just 34 tackles in 11 games. Briggs started just 17 games in his final two seasons as a Bear.

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Briggs is second in franchise history in tackles, trailing only Brian Urlacher.

In late January, Briggs expressed a desire to come back to the Bears.

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“Obviously, in the draft, that’s probably going to be one of the focal points is getting a linebacker, but even so, a guy who’s been around, a guy who understands football, who’s a great football player and can play at a high level still is, to me, is enticing,” Briggs said. “So a guy like John Fox — love the hire — and hopefully, you know, I get a call and I get an opportunity to come back and play in Chicago, where I’m supposed to be.”