Charlie Lane, head janitor at Halas Hall, was finishing his day of work late Monday afternoon when he heard on the radio that the team had traded Thomas Jones to the New York Jets. The news didn’t surprise Lane, who knew the move was another way for the team to save a few dollars, just as was the team’s decision earlier in the day to slap the janitor with the vaunted franchise tag, keeping him from performing maintenance at other buildings in the Lake Forest area.

“I’ve been the janitor at Halas Hall for the last two years. My original contract is expiring and I asked for a raise. This place has never been cleaner,” Lane said proudly. “I couldn’t believe what I had heard when they told me they were ‘franchising’ me.”

The franchise tag Lane received was the same one that has upset Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs, who has voiced his displeasure and is hoping he’s the next Bear to be traded.

Like Briggs, the tag is restricting Lane from receiving a more lucrative offer from another Lake Forest business because the Bears could not only match the offer but they would also receive draft pick compensation if their employee is signed.

“The Bank of Lake Forest had heard what a nice job I’m doing here at Halas Hall and was interested in giving me the raise that the Bears would not,” Lane said. “The bank immediately backed off when they heard the Bears ‘franchised’ me and were asking for the combination to the vault as its compensation.”

heckler editorial staff