He's not in Canton yet, but in the mind of Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs is a Hall of Famer.
While the two chatted with Laurence Homes during NBC Sports Chicago's "Be Chicago: Together We Can" telethon, Urlacher didn't hold back when asked why Briggs missed the cut in his first year of eligibility:
He should have got in, that’s how I feel. Him and Olin [Kreutz], I don’t understand. When [Kevin] Mawae got in last year, that’s going to help Olin because Olin was just as good, if not better, in my opinion. Probably better. Playing against him every day in practice, man. God, he was so good. And he helped us get better as defense, as individual players, as well. There’s no doubt in my mind that Lance should be in, as well. You know, you look at his numbers, the Pro Bowls, the All-Pros, just the sheer tackle numbers, the interceptions, the fumbles.
It drives me crazy. And Charles [Tillman], as well. You look at Charles’ numbers, just his takeaways. Put his fumbles, caused fumbles, picks, touchdowns together, and there’s not hardly going to be any DB’s that can match up with those takeaway numbers in the Hall of Fame or on the fringe of the Hall of Fame. So look at the Pro Bowls. look at the All-Pros. The Pro Bowls don’t matter to me. That’s voted on by the players and fans. Who cares? The All-Pros and the big numbers that you have, Lance … it drives me crazy. It’s a popularity contest. It’s that way every year. Hopefully, you’ll win the popularity contest one of these days. I’m in your corner buddy.
Briggs had a stellar 12-year career in Chicago that included seven Pro Bowls and three All-Pro nominations while starting 170 out of 173 games. He finished his Bears career with 1,181 tackles, 15 sacks, 16 interceptions and six defensive touchdowns. He and Urlacher anchored some of the best defenses in Bears history, though the latter is the only representative of those teams in Canton so far.
You can listen to their entire conversation on the latest episode of the Under Center podcast right here or in the embedded player below: