In 2007, Lance Briggs was in Matt Forte's shoes, staying away from off-season workouts as a ploy/protest in response to a stalemated contract situation.
"It's just rough," Briggs said. "I know he wants to be out here with his team. But you also know what your value is in this league and you work hard and you want that to be recognized. You want that to be recognized with a long-term deal. You know how this business is. It's rough, it can be brutal."
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As the Bears' designated franchise player, Forte has been tendered a $7.742 million contract for 2012, which he has yet to sign. He wants a multi-year deal with more than $20 million in guaranteed money.
"Just do what you believe because no one knows you like you and no one is going to take care of you like you," Briggs said. "The toughest part was that I wanted a long-term deal and the organization didn't at that time. So it was a little personal where I put some time in, and I thought that I had earned the right to stay here for a long time rather than give you my services for a year and then potentially be shopped out again.
"A lot of guys want that long-term security. They want to know that the team wants them for a long period of time."
Tight end Kellen Davis led the Bears with 5 TD catches last season, but he had just 18 receptions, a total he expects to easily surpass this season.
"This offense is much more tight-end oriented and there's going to be a lot more production out of me for this year," said the 6-foot-7, 265-pound five-year veteran. "I'm pretty excited about it. I'd like to have between 40 and 60 catches at least. I'm hoping to get out there and put some numbers up."
Cornerback Tim Jennings had a diving interception during Wednesday's OTA practice, which passes for a highlight the first week in June.
"It feels good just to be a part of the team," said Jennings, who was benched in Week 16 last season but back in the starting lineup in Week 17. "It's just fun to have the opportunity to play with the ones and compete to continue to prove myself and get better."
Jennings is expected to compete with friend and former Colts teammate Kelvin Hayden for the starting job in training camp. He says he's benefiting from practicing against 6-foot-4, 230-pound wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
"It's a tough task, but it can only make us better as a secondary," he said. "I'm just glad he's on my team this year."
Get it done:
Count six-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs among those who believe the Bears need to work out a contract extension with seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher, whose current deal expires after this season.
"I think that we all, not just me, but this whole city, this organization and the players here, we all better hope that that happens because he means a whole lot to our success," Briggs said. "He's pivotal to our success."