We're Black and Blue All Over:
Good morning. Wednesday was quite the day here on the NFC North blog. During the trek back from the NFL owners meeting, I did my best to keep up with the Chicago Bears' decision to part ways with linebacker Brian Urlacher. I'll have a few more thoughts as the morning progresses, including Urlacher's appearance on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning," but for now let's catch up on local coverage throughout the division:
Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com: "This wasn't a surprise, but it's jarring to think about a Bears team without its middle linebacker. Feel free to take some time to drink in his career. Urlacher was the heir to a rich tradition at middle linebacker, the next generation of Butkus and Singletary. He was ornery and violent and liked to have a good time, and maybe he was a bit of a meathead. He was not a poet in cleats. Chicago is a middle linebacker kind of town. Hey, even some of our quarterbacks threw like linebackers."
Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune thinks there "are no victims in this finish" between the Bears and Urlacher.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune wonders about the internal power shift from Urlacher to quarterback Jay Cutler.
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times: "I don't think anyone ever saw him playing for another team or not playing for the Bears. I'm shocked like everyone else. He was the heart and soul of our team -- the defense especially -- and he will be missed. I wish him the best. I didn't want to see him go. He still has juice left in the tank."
Even the children of Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz were mad at him for the team's 2012 performance, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News inspects the situation around Lions offensive lineman Riley Reiff.
The Lions plan to use free agent Jason Jones at left defensive end, writes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
Free agent linebacker Brad Jones was at Lambeau Field on Wednesday, meaning there is a chance he re-signs with the team, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy on running back DuJuan Harris' role in 2013, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "Oh, he's going to play for us next season. That's his responsibility, if he wants to be the starter."
McCarthy on the Packers' defense, via Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Adrian Peterson and the San Francisco game were our two black eyes. And that's where we've got to be better. Those are big games. We've got to play better defense in big games."
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com posted Wednesday's Q&A with Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier.
It's too early to make predictions on a potential Super Bowl in Minnesota, writes Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune.