Bears’ Briggs was certain he’d be joining 49ers

Chicago Bears linebacker and Sacramento native Lance Briggs was certain he would be playing for the 49ers. The 49ers and Bears talked at the 2007 trade deadline about a deal that would send Briggs to the 49ers.


That deal fell through. But Briggs, who was a scheduled free agent in 2008, knew he would sign with the 49ers. He said his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told him. But just prior to the start of free agency, Rosenhaus informed Briggs that the 49ers were no longer going to sign him.


Briggs said the 49ers were pulling out at the last minute. Briggs spoke this morning with 49ers reporters on a conference call.


Of course, we all know what happened. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ruled the 49ers had violated the league’s anti-tampering policy. The 49ers had to forfeit a 2008 fifth-round draft pick and were forced to swap third-round picks with the Bears as punishment.


This is more of what Briggs had to say about the whole situation:


What do you mean when you talked about the 49ers “pulling out on you”?

Briggs: “The 49ers were the team I thought I was going to be going to. And a lot of people around the league figured that was the team I was going to go to. And I got a call from my agent right before free agency (and he said) it’s probably not going to happen and we’re going to have to go elsewhere. So I started to look at New Orleans. That was the next squad I was going to take a trip to, and I see a scroll (at the bottom of the TV) ‘New Orleans trades for Jonathan Vilma.’ So that puts the Chicago Bears back in the picture. It was a domino effect.”


Why did you feel the 49ers were going to be your next destination?

Briggs: “I was more heavily pursued by them that any other organization.”


Do you mean at the trade deadline?

Briggs: “Right, the trade deadline and with free agency coming around that was what all the analysts, plus my agent, said ‘Hey, you’re going to be a Niner.’ “


Were you privy to what the trade offer was at that time?

Briggs: “It was a first-round pick. It was a first-round pick, straight up. To me, that’s quite an honor to have, to have a team willing to trade you for a first-rounder.”


Did you guys already have the terms of the deal set up?

Briggs: “Uh, all I know is  . . . I’m not sure about that. I just know that was the (trade) offer.”


Would that have been dream come true for you?

Briggs: “It would’ve been great. It would’ve been nice to play with Patrick (Willlis). We talked with each other at the Pro Bowl. We talked about that a little bit, that we were both excited about the chance to play with each other. But that’s life. Life works in mysterious ways. I’m back here with all my boys here, and we just have to move on.”


Are you bitter at the 49ers?

Briggs: “No. No, you can’t hold grudges. I don’t hold grudges. I was a little upset at the time, but all in all, I’m happy with the things worked out.”


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