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Briggs is staying with Bears

'Franchise' player signs 1-year pact

Buffalo's Kiwaukee Thomas (left) and Kevin Harrison move a television into the team's dormitory before training camp. Buffalo's Kiwaukee Thomas (left) and Kevin Harrison move a television into the team's dormitory before training camp. (DAVID DUPREY/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Lance Briggs is going to play and not sit. The Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker agreed to a one-year, $7.2 million contract yesterday as the team's franchise player.

Unhappy when he was initially given the tag, Briggs threatened to sit out the season, but reached an agreement one day before the Bears report to training camp.

The deal came together after the Bears agreed to not put the franchise tag on Briggs in 2008 and give the linebacker a $1 million advance, agent Drew Rosenhaus said.

Rosenhaus called it a "fair tradeoff."

"There was no reason to hold out at this point. We were able to gain something in terms of not having the franchise next year. That will give Lance an opportunity to have a great season and maximize his position for next year," Rosenhaus said in a telephone interview.

"We did not want history repeating itself. Unfortunately this is a lengthy process. We were able to get it done."

Briggs, who helped the Bears make the Super Bowl last season for the first time since 1985, is getting the average of the top five salaries at his position.

In 2006, Briggs earned $721,600 in the final season of his first NFL contract after he reportedly rejected a six-year, $33 million offer last spring.

At one point in the offseason, Briggs told the Bears to remove the tag or trade him. A potential deal with the Redskins didn't materialize.

"I've played my last snap for them. I'll never play another down for Chicago again," Briggs said during the offseason.

Now he will.

The Bears report to training camp today at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., about 60 miles south of Chicago. The first practice is tomorrow. Rosenhaus said he wasn't sure if Briggs would make the first practice because the deal was worked out so close to camp.

Briggs made the Pro Bowl for a second time last season, recording a career-high 176 tackles with two interceptions and a fumble recovery while starting all 16 games for a third straight season. He had 117 solo tackles.

The 6-foot-1-inch, 240-pound Briggs was the team's third-round draft choice out of Arizona in 2003 and has blossomed in coach Lovie Smith's version of the Cover-2 defense alongside Brian Urlacher.

"Lance is happy. It's a good outcome for him," Rosenhaus said.

One day earlier the Bears reached a six-year contract extension with cornerback Charles Tillman and last month worked out a five-year extension for corner Nathan Vasher.

Holmes coming back
Three-time Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes will report to the Kansas City Chiefs' camp Saturday in a surprise development that comes 21 months after he was knocked out of football by a devastating hit.

The return of the team's career rushing leader adds an interesting twist to the situation surrounding Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson, who has vowed to hold out until he gets a new contract.

Many thought Holmes, who turns 34 Oct. 7, was done. Since suffering neck and head trauma on a hit by San Diego's Shawne Merriman Oct. 30, 2005, he has kept his distance from the Chiefs, staying in Texas and having little to do with the team. Coach Herm Edwards said the Chiefs would proceed cautiously with Holmes to gauge his conditioning and readiness.

Dunn out 3-4 weeks
As if they didn't have enough troubles, the Atlanta Falcons revealed that running back Warrick Dunn will miss 3-4 weeks after having back surgery. Dunn, who rushed for a team-high 1,140 yards last year, hurt his back during offseason workouts and had the surgery Saturday. The team held off revealing the news while it dealt with the federal indictment of quarterback Michael Vick on charges related to dogfighting. Vick, indicted last week, was barred from training camp by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell while the league looks into possible violations of its new personal conduct policy . . . The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms with receiver Eric Moulds, adding some needed experience to the roster for quarterback Vince Young. The 11-year veteran spent last season with Houston after playing for Buffalo his first 10 seasons in the NFL. He has caught at least 67 passes in each of his last nine seasons, which is more than anyone caught for Tennessee in 2006 . . . Backup safety Jason Bell was placed on injured reserve by the New York Giants with a back injury. Bell, who appeared in 15 regular-season games and a playoff game last season, aggravated his back during the offseason conditioning program . . . The Arizona Cardinals agreed to terms with second-round draft pick Alan Branch on a four-year contract. Branch, a defensive tackle out of Michigan, was chosen No. 33 overall. Still unsigned is offensive tackle Levi Brown, the Cardinals' top pick who went fifth overall . . . Linebacker David Harris, the Jets' 6-2, 243-pound second-round pick out of Michigan, signed with New York . . . Josh Wilson is fast -- but apparently not at everything. The Seahawks' top choice in April's draft still had not signed a contract, leaving his agent merely "hoping" to avoid the speedy cornerback and kick returner being late for his first NFL training camp. Seattle's rookies are due to report today.

Bills sign Posluszny
Linebacker Paul Posluszny, Buffalo's second-round draft pick, signed a four-year deal potentially worth over $5 million, a day before the start of training camp. Selected 34th overall out of Penn State, Posluszny's deal includes $2.55 million in guaranteed money and is worth $4.75 million overall. It also includes $325,000 in incentive clauses. Buffalo also signed fourth-round pick, running back Dwayne Wright, earlier in the day . . . Quarterback Kevin Kolb signed a four-year deal with Philadelphia, the last of the Eagles' eight picks to sign . . . Fourth-round pick Michael Bush, who was one of the top running backs in the country before breaking his leg in Louisville's season opener last season, signed with the Oakland Raiders, who hope Bush is healthy enough to take part in training camp.

Moon avoids DUI
Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon was charged with negligent driving and avoided charges on drunken driving in Kirkland, Wash. A spokesman for the King County prosecutor said Moon tested below the legal limit in the hours following his arrest for investigation April 6. According to a report from the state toxicology laboratory included in the county's complaint, Moon registered blood alcohol levels of .068 and .067 hours after his early morning arrest near Seahawks headquarters, below the .08 legal limit.

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