We're Black and Blue All Over:
We've already covered the latest arrest of Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley. So the other story of note that emerged over the extended Memorial Day weekend was a brief dustup over the Chicago Bears' possible motivations for driving a hard bargain with tailback Matt Forte.
As you know, the sides have been haggling for more than a year on the terms of a multi-year extension, and Forte is currently retained by the franchise tag. David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune suggested that wear on Forte's knees has left the Bears unable to "rule out arthritis setting and becoming a chronic problem…."
Haugh notes that Forte has torn the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while playing at Tulane and suffered sprains to both knees during his NFL career. But both Forte and his agent fired back in the ensuing days.
Via Twitter, Forte posted a video of what appeared to be a recent workout with this message: "100Lbs sled up hill i think my knee will be ok."
Agent Adisa Bakari issued this statement to ESPN's Josina Anderson: "Matt Forte is among the most, if not the most, durable, all-purpose running back in the NFL. The 2011 season was the first season of his career that he missed any games. Had the Bears been playoff contenders, he could have returned for the balance of the season. To question his durability at this stage in his career is absurd."
The best way to view this episode is that it was inevitable. Forte has been one of the Bears' top players in recent years and from the outside, there aren't any obvious explanations for why he doesn't have a new deal yet. It's only natural to expect reporters to seek answers, something that routinely happens during the course of a long negotiation. Eventually the truth will come out, if it hasn't already.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Bears' offense could look a lot like the Minnesota Vikings' offensive from 2002-05, when current offensive coordinator Mike Tice was the Vikings' head coach, explains Dan Pompei of the Tribune.
In a column about the Lions' offseason, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes that receiver Titus Young was "apathetic" during early offseason workouts.
Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com examines the Lions' secondary in a weekend mailbag.
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is ready to help the Lions' younger players on the field, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Free Press.
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette looks at the Green Bay Packers' likely decision to make Marshall Newhouse their new left tackle.
It appears a matter of when, not if, receiver Donald Driver returns to the Packers with a restructured contract, according to Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examines Driver's newfound marketability.
Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press goes behind the scenes of former Vikings guard Scott Kooistra's recovery from a serious neck injury suffered last summer.
In case you missed it, the Minneapolis City Council formally approved the Vikings' new stadium bill last Friday, notes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.