Bears linebacker Lance Briggs has a lot of fun playing himself. (Brian Cassella / Chicago…)
Lance Briggs is one of the few people on the planet who can play as himself in a video game.
And yes, he says it's as cool as you think it is.
"It's great to see yourself make a play on the field and in a video game," the Bears star said. "I always took a lot of pride in when I played baseball or when I played basketball and stuff like that, creating different players and different teams and stuff. When I got a chance to see myself in football, I think it's pretty cool."
Briggs mingled with fans at the Best Buy on North Avenue on Tuesday prior to the Ultimate Gamers Showdown, a "Madden NFL 25" tournament that pitted fans against each other for a chance to win prizes.
But while he dominates on an actual field, those skills don't translate to the virtual gridiron.
"I realized that it was my time to give up on 'Madden' because my teammates are too good and I was getting blown out," he said. "I thought I was good at 'FIFA.' I went to training camp and got blown out."
Just because you can control yourself in a video game doesn't mean you want to all the time. Away from the field, the hard-hitting linebacker prefers to spend what limited free time he has playing adventure games instead of sports games.
"I really get tied into the story," he said. "It's somebody's imagination, somebody created a world. I really like to follow that storyline and complete it."
Historically, defense has been the story of the Bears' success. This season, the storylines being written by teammates on the other side of the ball have kept fans talking.
Former high school gym teacher turned Bears season savior Josh McCown has emerged as an unlikely star behind center since Jay Cutler went down with injuries halfway through the season.
In Cutler's absence, McCown has thrown for 13 touchdowns and just one interception, helping keep the Bears locked in a first-place tie in the NFC North with Detroit with just three games to go.
It's not something that's lost on the leader of the team's defense.
"[McCown has] been vital to our opportunity to have success," Briggs said. "Josh and his ability to play and minimize mistakes has kept us in games."
In the latest turn, the Bears announced Thursday that Cutler will start Sunday against Cleveland.
Meanwhile, former second-round draft pick-turned-highlight reel staple Alshon Jeffrey has emerged as a legitimate deep threat complement to Brandon Marshall.
"The way that he's playing right now at such a high level, he's just having an All-Pro level," Briggs said. "He's just gotta keep it up."
Ask Briggs about his own story though and you're not going to get much of a response.
His fractured left shoulder may be the most talked about body part in Chicago right now by everyone but the man it's attached to.
"Shoulder's getting better," was all he'd say.
Briggs said it hasn't been easy watching the organized chaos on the field instead of orchestrating it.
"It's always strange to be on the sidelines when your team is out there," he said.
With three games left and a playoff berth on the line, Briggs said the team is treating each game like it's do or die.
"Every week is like a playoff for us," he said. "We just have to win out."
Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.
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