It’s all but official in Chicago: The Orlando Pace experiment is over.
Pace has returned to full health after rehabilitating a groin injury, but with three games left in a lost season, the Bears have no intention of reinserting him into the starting lineup. Instead, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears will leave second-year player Chris Williams at left tackle and veteran backup Kevin Shaffer at right tackle.
This makes perfect sense for a number of reasons, and give some credit to the Bears for not being blinded by the money they paid Pace during the offseason. Williams is their left tackle for the long term, and he needs to use these games to continue developing at the position. Pace, 34, had a sub-par year and isn’t likely to return next season.
For his work this year, Pace will receive about $6 million in compensation. It was an expensive gambit, but at least the Bears aren’t extending its life to save face.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner wasn’t surprised by comments attributed to receiver Devin Hester, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette profiles Packers coach Mike McCarthy, a Pittsburgh native who will return home for Sunday’s game against the Steelers.
The Packers play a similar defense to the Steelers, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Minnesota linebacker Erin Henderson, suspended this week for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, says he did nothing wrong. But in an interview with Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Henderson doesn't totally spell out how it came to be that he tested positive and lost all appeals.
In a sign of the current dysfunction in Minnesota stadium politics, the Vikings won’t be present and won’t endorse a new stadium design that will be proposed Thursday by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune explains.
Detroit players know a roster turnover is coming, even if coach Jim Schwartz declined to start the process this week. Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press has more.
Terry Foster of the Detroit News speaks with Theo Spight, who sings the Lions fight song during games at Ford Field.