On the verge of the 2014 NFL season, Chicago Bears linebacker had some serious business to attend to on Monday. He had a restaurant opening to oversee.
Briggs has a new restaurant — Double Nickel Smokehouse. Sounds yummy.
The problem? It's in California. And the Bears were practicing that day. Their opener on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills was less than a week away at that point.
Conflict of the team's interest? Briggs doesn't see it that way.
“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.”
So here's the deal: Briggs had an excused absence for the event, signed off on by head coach Mark Trestman. All good, right? Well, there's one caveat: Briggs never told Trestman the reason why he wanted the personal day.
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“He just trusted [me],” Briggs said. “It was trust. I asked him for a personal day. He said OK. I guess my announcing the opening of my restaurant made bigger news than we expected.”
Good for the Smokehouse trying to drum up business maybe. But bad for a Bears defense that, well, hasn't looked to hot in the preseason with new faces and new starters at various positions, including linebacker?
Maybe. (Of course, our own Kevin Kaduk is undeterred — he's got the Bears in the Super Bowl.)
Another question worth asking: Why open the restaurant during such a busy time in the NFL? After all, Briggs isn't a rookie — he knows the calendar.
“Well, I didn’t make the decision [on the date],” he said. “My partner made the decision. But it was Labor Day. And on Labor Day, as you know, most people do not work.”
Still, Trestman said he has faith that granting Briggs' absence was the right thing to do.
“I just stand by what I’ve said with each and every player who has missed a practice,” Trestman said. “And that is that I listen to what they have to say. I always call it a personal decision because I don’t think it’s my business or anybody’s business from my end.
"Every decision we make is made in the best interest of the team. And a lot goes into that."
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