We're Black and Blue All Over:
Catch the ESPYs Wednesday night? If so, you saw a Green Bay Packers love-fest that featured players in two skits but ended with quarterback Aaron Rodgers as the only award recipient.
Rodgers won for best NFL player, besting linebacker Clay Matthews in that category. But those nominated in three other categories lost out mostly to the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. Such is life.
I counted at least seven Packers players in attendance: Rodgers, Matthews, linebacker A.J. Hawk, receiver Greg Jennings, receiver Jordy Nelson and linebacker Desmond Bishop. Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson was also prominently featured.
Rodgers participated in an extended award presentation with entertainer Justin Timberlake, who amusingly attempted to take credit for the Packers victory in Super Bowl XLV. Matthews was asked to "break up" a rendition of the Vancouver kissing couple in front of the stage. All in all, it looked like a fun night.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey revealed his favorite current Bears player during a Q&A session at a youth camp, according to John P. Huston of TribLocal. (It's defensive end Israel Idonije.)
Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz told the Associated Press it would take only a day to get the team ready to play in its Aug. 7 preseason opener. Hmmmmm.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on why he waited to have surgery on his right shoulder, via Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News: "After I hurt again in the Jets game [Nov. 7], I wanted to get a chance to rest and calm down a little bit and try and rehab it back. I did everything I could the last couple weeks of the season to try and get back for a game and I just couldn't do it. After the season, I was still having trouble sleeping on it and I couldn't lay on my right side, and I knew at that point the best decision for me was to have surgery. ... It's paid off. I've been 100 percent healthy for a long time now."
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: "While nobody knows what the salary cap will be or what the rules governing free agency will be once the new collective bargaining agreement is set. But one thing you can feel real comfortable about -- Cliff Avril is going to be a Lion for a long time."
Frederick Melo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press attended a "listening session" for Ramsey County residents to discuss the Minnesota Vikings stadium proposal.
The Star Tribune has time-lapse video of the Metrodome re-inflation.