LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Tommie Harris says the talks that led to his four-year, $40 million contract with the Chicago Bears were businesslike and "classy."
Speaking at a morning news conference at Halas Hall, the defensive tackle said he and Bears management kept negotiations private in reaching a deal that will keep him with Chicago through 2012.
That differs from what has happened between the team and linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. They've both gone public with complaints and either hinted or threatened holdouts.
"We didn't try to go out there and talk about one another or dispute different things, and I feel like we did it all in-house," Harris said.
"I would never go out and talk about the Bears in front of the media or disrespect my team," added Harris, whose deal was the richest ever for the Bears in terms of dollars per year.
Harris started 56 of his 60 career NFL games and recorded 208 tackles during his four seasons with the Bears. The three-time Pro Bowler had 13 total sacks over the last two seasons -- ranking him second among defensive tackles.
Now the Bears must turn their attention to the pending negotiations of Urlacher and Devin Hester. Both are under contract beyond 2008, and general manager Jerry Angelo would like to reach deals on contract extensions before training camp begins next month.
"The timetable is when we're in the offseason. This is the time to talk business and do these things," said Angelo, who reached deals for contract extensions with defensive end Alex Brown and kicker Robbie Gould during the offseason.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press