Briggs giving game his all, and appreciating it more

And it is a pretty impressive one. He has been to seven Pro Bowls in nine seasons. He has led the Bears in tackles four years, including in 2011, and finished second to Urlacher four times.

"It's important how my peers, friends, family and hopefully the fans in Chicago and around America remember me," Briggs said. "I just want to be remembered as someone who loved to play the game."

Briggs still is creating memories. Just because he has been a Bear longer than every player on the team except Patrick Mannelly, Urlacher and Charles Tillman does not necessarily mean he is nearing the end.

Front office men who have studied him say his burst and quickness still are exceptional.

"He is really in-tune to what's going on," Bears center Roberto Garza said. "This was one of the best camps he has had since I've been here (2005). He knew exactly where to be and how to get there. You can tell all his experience makes him at a different level."

The argument can be made that Briggs, who has been overlooked at times while playing next to Urlacher, never has been more important to the Bears defense.

Briggs believes his value will not fluctuate based on Urlacher's situation. But someone will have to fill production and leadership voids if Urlacher can't.

Briggs simply plans to be himself.

"In terms of leadership, I'm still going to be the same guy," he said. "My job is not to be somebody else; it's to be who I am."

Part of that is being a player who is available. He never has missed more than two games in a season.

Probably more than ever, the Bears appreciate that durability.

dpompei@tribune.com

Twitter @danpompei
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