The halcyon days of the Bears’ season almost seem quaint now, don’t they?
Six days before the regular season started, Lance Briggs left the team to open his barbecue restaurant, Double Nickel Smokehouse, in Elk Grove, California. He asked Marc Trestman for the day off — and it was granted — but said then he never told the coach why.
Only, Briggs said this week, that’s not how it happened. He said on his Comcast SportsNet show Tuesday he indeed had told Trestman about the restaurant date “a month before” taking the day off.
Wednesday at Halas Hall, he reaffirmed his stance.
“The thing about my TV show is, it’s a great platform for me to express myself in a lot of different ways,” Briggs said. “I really had that moment and I addressed it then and I’m going to leave it at that.”
But which one is the truth?
“I see you’re opening another door right now,” he said.
It’s a fair question, Lance.
“Right, right,” he said. “If you watch the show, it’ll answer [it] for you.”
If Briggs indeed is in his last seven weeks with the Bears, he’s not going to go quietly.
Whether two months’ time has provided Briggs a sauce-bottle’s worth of truth serum, or whether the linebacker felt slighted by Trestman’s public support — or lack thereof — at the time, his story is different now than it was then.
Trestman’s version is not.
“I showed him the respect that I think he deserved at the time, and I didn’t think it was doing anything that was not in the best interest of the team at the time,” Trestman said Wednesday. “That’s it.”
It doesn’t help that Briggs — whose return from injury was seen as a badly needed upgraded — made one of the season’s most egregious mistakes Sunday.
On the first play of the second quarter, Briggs tried to counter an audible by Aaron Rodgers with a defensive check — only the Bears didn’t have an established audible out of the set they called.
That left Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson running free down the right sideline — wide open because of blown coverage — for a 73-yard touchdown.
“I shouldn’t have made the check,” Briggs said. “I saw something, tried to check out of it, and we don’t have a check out of that defense. So I put our defense in jeopardy on that play.”
Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said the mistake “just can’t happen,” a phrase that could earn copyright residuals at Halas Hall lately.
“It’s not something that we expect to happen, ever,” Tucker said, for emphasis.
Briggs said that he’s talked to “some of my guys” since Sunday’s 55-14 debacle — former Bears defenders — but stressed they were disappointed with the team’s effort, not just the defense.
“We had some good hash-it-out conversations,” he said. “Everything they were saying, it’s all understood — everybody, whether it’s them, just a fan, or who, get upset. We’re all upset.”
He doesn’t blame fans for their anger.
“Obviously, this city deserves better,” he said. “We deserve better. We deserve better for ourselves.”
Briggs didn’t want to leave the field Sunday, despite the score, because he had missed one month with a ribs injury. Paradoxically, he said he would skip over the film of that game when, one day, he reviews his greatest hits.
“I’ve been humbled before,” he said. “Some things are part of life. …
“For however many more games, whether it’s seven or it’s more, I just want to play hard and make plays and try to help this team.”