Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Over the last few days, aging free agent Chicago Bears defenders Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs have been greasing the skids, angling for a return to the Bears after GM Phil Emery and Marc Trestman were shown the door and Ryan Pace and John Fox have taken over the reigns of the Bears.
Lance Briggs put his stake in the ground despite an expected change in scheme:
"“In Vic Fangio’s [3-4] defense, if he has a place for me, I’ll play it,” Briggs said."
Briggs had been saying that 2014 would be his last season in a Bears uniform, but the new leadership has rejuvenated the 12 year veteran:
"“The closure I had there was a different GM, different coach,” Briggs said. “My understanding there was this was my last year and I am moving on.“New GM, new coach, we haven’t had those kinds of talks yet. Obviously the door is open until we have that conversation and I know how they feel.”"
Briggs’ best buddy on the Bears the last couple of season, Charles Tillman, was also planning for a new chapter in his career after a couple of frustrating injury shortened seasons, but has a fresh perspective with John Fox in place:
"“Yeah, I’d like to be in Chicago,” Tillman said. “I’m feeling good, feel great. I’ve been there 12 years. It would be 13 now. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”"
It’s amazing what a difference John Fox’s hiring has made to the Bears attitude. Can it translate to the field? More importantly, should the Bears pursue Tillman and Briggs?
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I question how Briggs would fit into a 3-4 defense. His speed is gone, so maybe if he packs on a few pounds in the offseason at his BBQ restaurant, maybe he could hold down the nose tackle spot. Briggs has spent his entire professional career playing the weak side linebacker in Lovie Smith’s old 4-3, Tampa-2 defense. Can Fox and Fangio teach an old dog new tricks? After his lack of leadership under Trestman, do you want him back?
As for Tillman, he’s had a couple of tough breaks the last couple of years. I would welcome him back with open arms, but I wouldn’t count on him. I would have some young corners lined up and I’d let Tillman compete.
Most importantly, I’d get these aging veterans for aging veteran prices. Don’t go about it the way Phil Emery went about it with Brian Urlacher:
"For Urlacher, the hurdle was Emery, whom he blames for a lack of compassion during his 2012 contract stalemate.Said Urlacher: “If he came to me and said, ‘Hey man, look, we don’t think you’re the same.’ Which, I wasn’t the same player. After my knee got hurt, I was a little bit slower and older. I agree. But I still wanted to play. I feel like I could have still played. With another year of rehab on my knee, I probably could have played one or two more years.“If he had said, ‘Hey man, you’re not the same player. You know that. We know that. But we still want you here. You’re a good leader. Blah, blah, blah. You’re a team guy, this, that. But we can’t pay you more than this. But we want you here. Can you do it?’“Hell yeah, I can do it. If you handle it like that, 100 percent I can do it, you know? But the way it was handled—’This is the offer, take it over leave it. You have til tonight to decide. If you don’t want it, we’ll get somebody else. And then we’re going to tweet it out right when you say no.’ It’s over with now. I’m happy I’m retired.”"
Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs came into the league together with the Bears. Should they leave together or should they both be back. Would you bring either back? What do you think? Should the Bears bring back Tillman and/or Briggs?