We're Black and Blue All Over:
Ben of Frankfurt was among those who sent us a heads-up of European Internet reports that made for an unusual offseason note: A professional German football player traveled to Detroit this week for a tryout with the Detroit Lions, a relative rarity in NFL player procurement.
Receiver Christian Bollmann is scheduled to work out Wednesday, according to this press release from his New Yorker Lions team. (You'll need to run a translator program to read it, unless you know German.) Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press confirmed the workout, which was arranged by coach/general manager Phil Hickey, who has a relationship with Lions general manager Martin Mayhew dating to their time in the XFL.
Bollmann is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds and runs a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, according to Hickey.
It's rare but not unprecedented for a player without American high school or college experience to get attention from the NFL. The league doesn't keep records of such things, but typically when European players make their way to the NFL, even on tryouts, they have some American experience.
The most recent example is defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, a German who attended North Carolina State before the New York Giants made him a seventh-round draft choice this year. Kuhn is one of three European-trained players to be drafted. The others are defensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer in 2009 by the New England Patriots and defensive tackle Romeo Bandison by the Washington Redskins in 1994.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and tight end Tony Scheffler opened a gym in suburban Detroit, notes Birkett for the Free Press.
Rod Beard of the Detroit News profiles Lions rookie running back Stephfon Green.
The Lions placed running back Jerome Harrison on the non-football/reserve injury list as he continues to recover from a brain tumor discovered last fall. Harrison is not eligible to play in 2012, notes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at how the Green Bay Packers are adjusting to a shorter offseason.
Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette speaks with Packers receiver Jordy Nelson before Nelson joins the team's Tailgate Tour.
The Packers still own the NFL rights to defensive tackle Johnny Jolly, who is under indefinite suspension but was released from jail Tuesday. Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com has more.
The Minnesota Vikings signed defensive tackle Nick Reed and claimed offensive lineman Kevin Murphy off waivers, notes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
The Chicago Bears signed third-round draft choice Brandon Hardin, completing negotiations with their draft class, notes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery changed his mind and has decided to attend the NFLPA Rookie Premiere presented by Nike, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.