We're Black and Blue All Over:
As training camps around the NFL inevitably approach, I wonder if we're going to see more reports of players who suffered injuries while working out on their own during the offseason.
Here's one that applies to the NFC North: Detroit Lions left tackle Jeff Backus suffered a left pectoral muscle injury, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The injury is believed to be a partially torn muscle, and his status for the start of training camp is in question.
Specifics are crucial in this case because a completely torn pectoral muscle is usually a season-ending injury. A partial tear can cause a month's absence.
Like most teams, the Lions don't have an heir apparent in-house to replace Backus if he has to miss some time. Left tackle is a difficult-enough position to fill anyway. And the Lions already are monitoring the health of right tackle Gosder Cherilus, who had microfracture surgery on his knee. Corey Hilliard and Jason Fox are the top two backup tackles.
You can say and think what you want about Backus, but losing a starting left tackle for a significant period of time is devastating for any team. A Lions source told Birkett the injury is not serious, but the team hasn't been allowed to examine him per the terms of the lockout. Stay tuned.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Free agent Keith Bulluck is a likely option for the Lions at linebacker, writes Birkett.
The Green Bay Packers have given defensive tackle Justin Harrell no indication they want him back in 2011, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette checks in with former Packers guard Marco Rivera, who will be inducted into the Packers' Hall of Fame.
The Chicago Bears would be better off holding their training camp this year at their permanent training facility in Lake Forest, Ill., writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Bears free-agent linebacker Nick Roach to Vaughn McClure of the Tribune: "I love it here. It has been great to know these guys, to play with a historical pair such as Brian [Urlacher] and Lance [Briggs]. But I understand, too, that part of the business is that you're going to have to move around. And I didn't start off here. Moving on is something that I realize could happen."
Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com suggests the Bears pursue receiver Bernard Berrian if he is released by the Minnesota Vikings.
Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune identifies the Vikings' priorities when the lockout ends.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called the Vikings' stadium proposal "incomplete and unsatisfactory," according to the Associated Press.
Receiver Sidney Rice's history of injuries could impact the offers he gets on the free-agent market, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.