PHOENIX -- The 49ers have had discussions about ex-Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, according to a league source.
Briggs, 34, played 12 years for Chicago and was named to seven Pro Bowls. He's been injured in each of the last two seasons, playing in only 17 games over that span.
Briggs is from Elk Grove, was The Bee's 1998 prep football Player of the Year and played at the University of Arizona. He is interested in playing for what is essentially his hometown team, the source said.
Earlier in his career, the 49ers were eager -- too eager -- to sign him as a free agent.
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In 2008, they were found guilty of tampering while Briggs was still under contract with the Bears and were docked a fifth-round pick. The 49ers and Bears also were forced to swap third rounders that year. The conversations were so involved that Briggs thought he’d be wearing a 49ers uniform in 2008 and had a conversation with Patrick Willis about that scenario at the Pro Bowl that year.
"I thought it was a done deal," Briggs said in 2009. "... I didn't think I'd be back in a Chicago Bears uniform."
The 49ers are eying inside linebackers after losing two -- Willis and Chris Borland -- in quick succession to retirement.
They are looking at a number of free agents, including Briggs and Mason Foster. They reportedly have a workout set up with ex-Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson, who sat out the 2014 season.
The 49ers also have been spending time with inside linebackers who will be part of the upcoming draft. They met with Clemson's Stephone Anthony at that school's pro day this month and reportedly have set up a visit with Mississippi State's Benardrick McKinney.
One of the 49ers' would-be starters, NaVorro Bowman, is returning from an ACL injury suffered in January 2014. Other options include Michael Wilhoite, the only inside linebacker on the team who started all 16 games last year, as well as Nick Moody and Shayne Skov.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.