We're Black and Blue All Over:
The Chicago Bears reported to training camp Tuesday with the best team they've had since the 2006 Super Bowl run. No one could rain on their parade, not even questions about a pending contract situation that no one seems concerned about.
General manager Phil Emery wouldn't say if the team will approach middle linebacker Brian Urlacher about extending a deal that will expire after the season, as noted by Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. That seems perfectly fine to me. Urlacher has a market-level contract for this season, worth $7.5 million, and he turned 34 in May.
There's no reason to push for a deal now at this stage in Urlacher's career, especially when Urlacher himself seems fine with waiting until the end of the season to pick up the issue. As we noted Tuesday, it's going to be a surprise if a contract issue consumes the Bears this summer.
Said Emery after arriving in Bourbonnais, Ill. : "I've had good conversations with Brian. That's a fine human being and obviously one of our top team leaders. Brian Urlacher has been a great Bears [player] and a great NFL football player. So yes, I've talked to him, and I'm excited about Brian and this season and our team."
Continuing around the NFC North:
Emery said that receiver Johnny Knox has begun some light running but it does not appear he will be ready to practice anytime soon. It's expected that Knox will land on the PUP list.
Quarterback Jay Cutler, via ESPNChicago.com: "This is the most comfortable I think I've been going into a camp with the offense and what we are doing scheme-wise and the talent around me. You can say this is the most comfortable I've been."
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune: "If there is one significant difference in the 2013 Bears from the 2012 Bears, it is depth. The team whose second string failed has another layer this year."
Bears coach Lovie Smith is ready for the pressure of this season, writes Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver: "[I]t's obvious he can't afford further slippage and still warrant playing time ahead of [Randall] Cobb."
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette looks into what tight end Jermichael Finley has been doing this offseason to curb drops.
The Packers hired Ed Policy as their new vice president and general counsel, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. Policy is the son of longtime NFL executive Carmen Policy.
The Detroit Lions' decision to release offensive lineman Johnny Culbreath was a football decision, not punitive, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Lions first-round draft choice Riley Reiff received a $4.25 million signing bonus in his contract, but the deal's fourth year is not guaranteed, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is writing a blog for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The first post includes the following words: "Wouldn’t it be cool to ride a space dragon? Other than the immediate boiling off of all the saliva on your tongue as you enter vacuum, followed by hypoxia and a moderately painful death, it would be amazing." This should be interesting.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com scouts the Vikings' offensive line.
A 6-10 record in 2012 might be a good call for the Vikings, writes Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune.