We're Black and Blue All Over:
Part of me wishes I could have been a fly on the wall Thursday during Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz's speech to the Michigan Associated Press Sports Editors association. Access and information are always important issues for state APSE groups, and Schwartz has presided over a significant tightening on injury details disseminated by the team.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Schwartz gave a "long explanation" for his approach. Asked specifically about quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is recovering from right shoulder surgery, Schwartz did say: "In a nutshell, Matt is doing fine," according to Eric Lacy of the Detroit News. He added that it would be difficult to find an NFL quarterback who didn't recover from the kind of AC joint separation that Stafford suffered last November.
It's going to be tough to measure Stafford's progress this offseason regardless. With a lockout looming early next month, the Lions' early offseason strength and conditioning program will be canceled. It's not clear when or if NFL teams will get on the practice field before the start of the 2011 season.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Schwartz and the Lions are convinced their plan is working, writes Hugh Bernreuter of The Saginaw News.
The final cost of replacing the Metrodome roof is expected to be $19 million, according to Kevin Duchshere of the Star Tribune. All but $25,000 will be covered by insurance, however.
The Twin Cities suburb of Arden Hills is expected to vote next week to begin formally pursuing the Minnesota Vikings to build a new stadium at the site of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant near Interstate 35W and U.S. 10. Dave Orrick of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has more.
In a letter to fans, the Vikings wrote: "[T]he MSFC also set a timeline that allows the stadium to be ready for use by August 1, 2011."
Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews' promotional tour this week will also include being a presenter at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night.
From an editorial in the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "The main celebrations may be complete, but the spirit of victory will be long-lasting for the residents of Titletown. This week's parties served as a joyful reminder that the world champion Packers have some world-class fans."
ESPN.com has video of Matthews participating in a WWE "Friday Night SmackDown" event.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune: "The Bears continue to value their receivers more than others do."
Former Bears fullback Jason McKie re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens, notes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.