We're Black and Blue All Over:
One of the more consistent questions I've received this spring concerns the condition of Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji when he reported to offseason workouts. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had reported in April that Raji was "overweight and out of shape" when he arrived.
Was he? To what extent? And why, considering he is entering a contract year?
Here's what Raji had to say about the subject, via Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel: "I think I'm in pretty good shape. I'm not going to say I was in tip-top shape coming back, but that's what the offseason's for. So everybody came back, and I know those reports got out there. I can't worry about that. I only worry about three or four people and that's Ted [Thompson], [Mike] McCarthy, Dom [Capers] and [defensive line coach Mike Trgovac]. If anybody else has something to say, that's their business."
Indeed, everyone has a right to an opinion. Here's mine: There is more than enough time for Raji to get into football shape before the start of training camp. But if the idea is to have the best season of your career, as you would think most players want in a contract year, it would have been a good start to show up in April in the best shape you've ever been in for the start of an offseason program. Take that for what you will.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com takes a closer look at the Packers' drive to create and recover more fumbles.
Weston Hodkiwiecz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette puts Packers place-kicker Mason Crosby's 2012 season in historical perspective.
Minnesota Vikings center center John Sullivan, who had microfracture surgery on his left knee in February and isn't participating in organized team activities, told Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he would be ready for training camp.
The Vikings are thrilled that tight end John Carlson is healthy this offseason, notes 1500ESPN.com.
Vikings receiver Greg Jennings on the ankle injury that kept him out of Wednesday's OTA, via Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune: "It's May. I don't think right now counts as much. It's important. But it really doesn’t count as much as September and August. Really September through hopefully February. It is May. It is May. And I'm perfectly fine."
Detroit Lions place-kicker David Akers acknowledged he is not 100 percent yet after having offseason groin surgery. Justin Rogers of Mlive.com has more.
The Lions signed former Pro Bowl special teams player Montell Owens, who also plays fullback, notes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Someone close to former Lions receiver Titus Young sought out help from the NFL for his personal problems, but Young declined, according to Eric Adelson of Yahoo! Sports.
Maggie Hendricks of NBC Chicago has a list of the best-performing jersey numbers in Bears history.
Bears Hall of Fame running back Gayle Sayers turned 70 this week. Larry Mayer of the Bears' web site has more.