Report: Briggs nears agreement, could be in camp on time

At one point, Lance Briggs said he would never play for the Chicago Bears again.

That stance may be a thing of the past.

The Chicago Tribune reported that as of Tuesday night, there were strong indications the two sides were coming close to an agreement that would end a messy contract dispute and land Briggs in training camp on time.

According to the paper, Briggs' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and the Bears have continued to negotiate even after the July 16 deadline for working out long-term contracts with franchise players. After a visit to Halas Hall last month, Rosenhaus said he had made some creative proposals to the team. But due to league rules, the sides can only agree to a one-year deal after the deadline.

The paper reported that one option was paying Briggs up front a large portion of the $7.2 million one-year contract the team tendered -- that would serve as a smaller signing bonus.

The Bears also have reportedly offered to rescind the franchise tag on Briggs for 2008 if he agrees to end the contract stalemate.

Reached by the newspaper on Tuesday night, Briggs declined to comment. But a teammate told the Tribune that Briggs had decided to sign and avoid a holdout.

In an interview with ESPN.com in March, Briggs said his days as a Bear were over.

"I don't want to be there anymore. I won't play for them and I'll do everything in my power to keep from playing there," he said. "They need to either [rescind] the franchise tag, and let me move on, or trade me to another team, because that's about the only way this thing can have any kind of a positive resolution."

Rosenhaus did not respond to inquiries by The Tribune.