Bears linebacker Lance Briggs was in California on Monday for the opening of his new restaurant, a trip that forced him to miss the day’s hour-long practice session.
Briggs’ absence was excused by coach Marc Trestman, but it has still engendered some negative response in Chicago among those who feel Briggs was putting himself ahead of the team by attending the opening. Briggs defended himself on Wednesday by saying that the game plan work for the opener began on Wednesday and by pointing to his own history with the team as a sign of how much he cares about it.
“As a guy who has been here more than 12 years, I’ve poured my heart out on the field every game and every play,” Briggs said, via the Chicago Tribune. “So if you’re questioning whether I cared more to be there than to be here, my history has always spoken for me. So you can take that how you want to.”
Trestman didn’t know why Briggs asked for a personal day, but granted it because the linebacker says the coach trusts him. Trestman said that granting permission for such an absence wasn’t something the team took lightly and shouldn’t be taken as a sign that he’s overly lenient with players.
“I don’t know how this has been interpreted. But I know we think we give great thought into everything we do. We don’t shoot from the hip and make decisions at the spur of the moment,” Trestman said.
If Briggs and the Bears defense have a good day against the Bills on Sunday, there probably won’t be too much more discussion about a practice on Labor Day inside or outside of Chicago.