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BBAO: Emotion and Nick Collins' future

We're Black and Blue All Over

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- If it were an emotional decision, it's clear where Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy would stand on the return of safety Nick Collins, who is awaiting word from doctors on the long-term prognosis of his neck.

"If Nick was my son," McCarthy told Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com and Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, "I would not let him play."

In the end, of course, the decision will be made by medical personnel. Early tests have been encouraging, but Collins is awaiting a final evaluation that could take place as early as this week. McCarthy said there will be no gray area from a medical standpoint: Collins won't return unless he is completely healed.

"We're not going to put him in harm's way," McCarthy said. If he's on the field, he’ll be cleared, he'll be 100 percent and everybody will be comfortable with it."

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • As we noted, the NFL is not expecting to announce the matchup for its Sept. 5 season opener this week.

  • Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel liked the Packers' move to sign center Jeff Saturday so much that he wants to see them do it again with a defensive player.

  • The Packers felt they had to sign Saturday in order to maintain their style on offense, according to Demovsky.

  • It had been a while since the Packers had wined and dined a free agent, McCarthy told Wilde.

  • Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune checks in with Bears chairman George McCaskey at the NFL owners meetings. His response when asked if coach Lovie Smith is in a "prove-it" year under new general manager Phil Emery: "Lovie will be the first to tell you that everybody in the NFL is there on a prove-it basis. From what I've seen, he and Phil are working very well together. We hope that shows in results on the field."

  • Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times offers a long profile of Smith.

  • Smith spoke with Bears running back Matt Forte after Forte reacted angrily to the singing of backup Michael Bush, according to ESPN's Rachel Nichols.

  • Bears receiver Johnny Knox (back) isn't expected to be ready to start the 2012 season, according to Vaughn McClure of the Tribune.

  • Thomas Lee of the Star Tribune examines how lucrative naming rights could be for the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium.

  • Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press reviews the Vikings' reputation of questionable hits when Tony Dungy was their defensive coordinator.

  • The Vikings are committed to a slow rebuild of their defensive secondary, we noted Sunday.

  • Free agency is going "exactly as planned," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.

  • Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch explains why he thinks the Lions' defense will improve this season. Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press has more.

  • A contract extension for Lions coach Jim Schwartz is one of the last remaining tasks of the team's offseason, writes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.