Arkush: Are you sure Briggs is the bad guy?

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Lance Briggs works on drills during the Bears training camp Friday, July 25, 2014 in Bourbonnais. (H. Rick Bamman)

Now that most of Chicago has climbed all over Lance Briggs for taking a personal day on Labor Day, I’ve got to tell you guys, I think you’re wrong.

Many of you are entitled to personal days at your jobs, aren’t you? I am, and it’s exactly what it’s called, a personal day. I don’t have to give any explanations. I just use it for what I have to. You do too. Stuff happens.

Why exactly should Briggs be treated differently?

But that’s not actually the point, is it? Because most of you think Briggs could have taken care of this at a more convenient time for his teammates and you.

Last fall, I had occasion to spend about an hour with White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas in the green room at Comcast Sports Network. The “Big Hurt” was all jacked about his new restaurant, The Big Hurt Brewhouse, he was sure would be opening in Berwyn in February.

A story in the Tribune five days ago reported that Thomas now hopes to open the doors sometime next month.

It is extremely unlikely that Briggs actually planned this distraction. Like almost every restaurant ever opened, there were probably delays.

I think it’s more likely Briggs tried to do the best he could by his teammates and his business partners.

Suppose it became obvious a month or two ago his opening was going to bump into the season and he looked for the least possible distraction.

He didn’t ask out of training camp or the preseason.

Briggs knew weeks ago when he went to Marc Trestman the team would be off Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday of this week. By taking Monday, he created a five-day window where he could travel reasonably through time zones, take care of all his business and come back ready to play.

What did he miss Monday, a glorified walk-through? On normal Mondays in season, the players are either given an extra day off if they win, or they might stretch, get loose and run a few plays. Trestman told us there was no Buffalo work, that they’d begin installing the gameplan Wednesday.

I think the head coach did absolutely the right thing by allowing his veteran all pro to do absolutely nothing wrong.

I do find it interesting that there seems to be no outrage or indignation about another All Pro, Brandon Marshall, spending every Tuesday this season traveling to and from New York to be a TV star.

I guess it’s because he doesn’t have to use his personal days.

Marshall’s success as a Bear is a great story. Say what you will about his off the field and lockerroom issues prior to coming to Chicago. He has reinvented himself as a Bear, become somewhat of a team leader and his behavior has been clean as a freshly fallen coat of snow.

I say somewhat of a team leader because I suspect strongly there are those in the Bears' lockerroom who aren’t all in on the “new” Marshall, specifically his addiction to the spotlight.

But hey, what good is an enormous ego if you don’t get to feed it.

No ifs, ands or buts about it, I am extremely impressed by how Marshall has turned his career and life around.

But that doesn’t change the fact his decision to travel to and from New York every Tuesday to pursue his career after football is likely going to hurt him and his team.

I’ve done what Marshall is about to attempt, less than 24-hour traveling TV gigs, when I was still in my 30s, and it is exhausting. There are delays, mechanical issues and weather. It's a horrible idea.

Leave Trestman alone. Marshall doesn’t need his permission or blessing to travel this road, and it’s a safe bet the boss is none-to-thrilled.

It’s interesting. The offense is good, so Marshall’s cool. The defense is bad, so Briggs must be the villain?

I think you all might really want to take another look.

• Chicago Football editor Hub Arkush can be reached at harkush@chicagofootball.com or on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.

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