Lance Briggs says he’s comfortable with Tucker, Herring
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter July 31, 2014 8:57PM
Updated: July 31, 2014 9:15PM
BOURBONNAIS — Lance Briggs was disappointed to be taken in the third round of the 2003 draft, but he soon found himself in the ultimate comfort zone with the Bears: playing next to Brian Urlacher at the peak of his career and — a year later — playing for the right coach in Lovie Smith, who would put him in the right spot in the right defense.
The seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker probably never will be in that situation again — neither personally nor professionally. Urlacher is retired, and Smith is in Tampa. But whether he’s fretting about his contract or missing his old coach, Briggs is a professional who knows how to put performance above all else — an important personal trait as he forges new relationships with his teammates and coaches.
“I’m a happy guy,” Briggs said. “I’m happy I’m around a lot of guys, a lot of good men. And it’s fun to be around a lot of good men that know how to work hard and know what it takes to play this game.”
Briggs still sounds like a “Lovie guy” at times. Asked about his relationship with coach Marc Trestman, he sounded a little distant when he replied, “Marc, he’s really our offensive coordinator as well as our head coach. My relationship with him is he’s my head coach, and I’m his player.”
But he sounded more comfortable with defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and especially linebackers coach Reggie Herring. In a rebound season, Tucker needs a healthy Briggs onboard.
“We got to know each other because we’re around each other a lot — a lot more than me and Marc,” Briggs said. “Me and Mel, we understand each other very well. He’s my D-coordinator, and I’m his player.”
And he lightened up considerably when asked about Herring, who’s in his first year as the Bears’ linebackers coach.
“Reggie? Man, Reggie is a good guy,” Briggs said. “He gets after it. He’ll get after us. And he’s very old school. It feels right when you have a coach that’s yelling at you and makes sure you’re doing things the right way.”
So, for now, finding a comfort zone is a personal matter to Briggs.
“When we’re playing good defense, that’s a comfort zone,” Briggs said. “Last year, we didn’t do that. It’s hard to be in a comfort zone when things like that are happening.
“We have a good opportunity. We have some great players that Phil [Emery] has brought in. I’m excited to see what we’re made of.”