During his first 10 seasons with the Bears, Lance Briggs never had to deal with an abundance of in-season down time.
Heading into the Bears' Oct. 20 game against the Redskins this season, Briggs, a Pro-Bowl linebacker, had played 169 regular-season and postseason contests and missed just four.
Since that game, Briggs has missed seven games after suffering a small fracture in his left shoulder. But the belief is that Briggs' sideline confinement will end Sunday night against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
The defense certainly would welcome Briggs' return, as it has given up an average of 187.6 rushing yards per game and 6.3 yards per carry in the seven games since he went down. Briggs' presence and playmaking ability could come in handy against an Eagles offense that leads the NFC in yards per game at 414.
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy feels similarly.
"That dude is a professional," McCoy said. ". . . Lance Briggs is probably one of the best linebackers I've faced."
How much of a difference does Briggs envision himself making?
"I don't know," he said. "I like to think I'm a guy who's going to get in his gap and when the opportunity's there, try to make [a play]. Hopefully I can help the team. I don't want to get out there and hurt us."