John Crist: What's it like for you when people in print, radio and television say that you – not Brian Urlacher – are the best linebacker in Chicago?
Lance Briggs: I guess I feel flattered. I guess I feel more flattered to be considered that way from a lot of different people, but that's never been my focus. My focus is to be the best weak-side linebacker in the game. So for me, that's what's going to help us be a better team, by me being the best Will in the NFL.
JC: One of the clichés in football is that an offensive line needs time to jell when changes are made. If Pisa Tinoisamoa is going to be the new starter on the strong side, as expected, is that jelling process something linebackers go through, too?
LB: Well, if you're talking about jelling, you've got two out of three linebackers that have been playing with each other for the last six years. So from a jell standpoint, it's not going to take much to have one other guy jell with us too because we know each other very well.
LB: I think he really is a Pro Bowl-type of player. Pisa is active, he gets after it, he understands it well, he's got that football savvy, he's got that "I understand how we fit." And when you put that equation in with the other two linebackers that have football savvy and understand where they fit, you have three great linebackers.
JC: Bears fans have been excited about their football in the past and been disappointed when it was all said and done. With the fever pitch this team is experiencing right now, why should those very same fans be believers this time?
LB: Well, why not? The potential is there. Everyone knows what we have. Our organization has put our team in a position to make a push for the championship. There's been a lot of motivation for a lot of players, for a lot of us, to take that step and make that stand now. It's kind of like a renewed ambition – renewed goals to be great. And I think that we're in a position right now that we know we have an opportunity to be great, so now is the time for us to grab it and just to be that. So our fans are excited because they have the same feeling that the team has right now. It's pretty much a championship-or-bust year.
JC: Pro Bowls, All-Pro teams, maybe even a bust in the Hall of Fame one day – are you a believer that a career as a professional football player simply isn't complete without a Vince Lombardi trophy?
LB: Absolutely. We've come so close to it. We've come so close, and the feeling we had, that taste, it never really escapes. So getting back to the Super Bowl and getting that ring could literally solidify your career as a professional football player and at least tell everyone, "Hey, I knew what it took to get this (shows his ring finger) right here." It's the greatest trophy in the world.
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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
Camp Chat: LB Lance Briggs
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