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March 15, 2008
Tampering issue won't go away

The 49ers are being called to New York on Monday to answer the tampering charges levied against them by the Bears, according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. The Bears have contended that the 49ers illegally contacted linebacker Lance Briggs last year while he was under contract with the Bears.

The 49ers reportedly tried to make a trade for Briggs before last season's trade deadline. They never acknowledged dealing with Briggs or the Bears at the time and have recently said the tampering charges are bogus. The 49ers did not try to sign Briggs, a Sacramento native, when he became a free agent last month and the linebacker ended up re-signing with the Bears.

According to Glazer, Bears team president Ted Phillips, general manager Jerry Angelo, and maybe even head coach Lovie Smith would make the trip to New York to state their case before commisioner Roger Goodell. It's not known who will represent the 49ers, who, through their spokesman, said the meeting is a league issue and that they would have nothing to say on the matter. (When I contacted the league last month, they called it a team issue and that they would have nothing to say on the matter).

If they are found to have tampered, the 49ers could be fined or could lose a draft pick.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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