Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Thursday was a busy day by the NFL's standards in July, and hopefully we can catch up here on Friday. We had a major contract extension, the signing of a draft pick, another installment of the Brett Favre saga and a head coach speaking at a political fundraiser.
Yes, Chicago's Lovie Smith briefly addressed the crowd at an event Thursday night for President Barack Obama, the longtime Chicago resident. Here's part of what Smith said, according to this account on Politico.com:
Smith: "I'm honored to be a part of the welcoming group to welcome home my favorite son. I have the audacity of hope that the Chicago Bears will some day be visiting the White House giving the president a Chicago Bears football to toss around on the South Lawn."
(One of Obama's books is entitled "The Audacity of Hope.")
Continuing around the NFC North:
Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune checks in with Bears safety Craig Steltz, who will get the first opportunity to replace safety Mike Brown in the starting lineup.
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com wonders if Detroit has wasted the talents of place-kicker Jason Hanson.
Lions linebacker Ernie Sims on the team's new defense: "I just like the position that the coaches put me in. It's enabling me to go out there and have fun and fly around and hit people." Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press has the full story.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette examines the Packers' looming competition at right tackle.
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "To get an idea of how important Antoine Winfield is to the Vikings, consider this: He continually has challenged authority, been outspoken, and rubbed against the grain. And yet he has just agreed to another long-term contract from an organization that loathes all of the above."