On the first full day of Lockout'11, three of our NFC North teams reached out to media members in one form or another to provide some local context and/or relevant information. (I don't blame the Minnesota Vikings for their silence. The lockout might have squashed any hope they have to receive financing for a new stadium in 2011.)
Here are the highlights:
Chicago Bears: In a statement, president/CEO Ted Phillips predicted that "a deal will get done" with players and "we expect to play football in 2011." He said plans remain in place for the Bears' "Ultimate Weekend," including the draft party and Bears Expo at Soldier Field, and added: "As an individual club, our team focus is on our preparation for the 2011 season and we want Bears fans to know we are going to continue to do everything we can within the League rules to prepare for a championship season. Our immediate focus is on preparing for the draft. We also continue to evaluate our team and will be ready to take advantage of all avenues to improve our team once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached."
Detroit Lions: Team president Tom Lewand addressed the lockout-related problem faced by players rehabilitating injuries or surgery. Those players, including quarterback Matthew Stafford, can't have direct contact with team officials, nor can they use team facilities, during a lockout.
"We have mechanisms in place where we can monitor the rehabilitation of any injured players who were injured playing football last year," Lewand said, according to a transcript of his remarks. "The guys that we know we have set up at rehabilitation facilities around the country. We have lines of communication open to those rehabilitation facilities and we'll be able to monitor the progress of those injured players as they progress."
The Lions plan to keep their season-ticket holders informed via e-mail blasts and letters sent through the U.S. mail, Lewand said.
Green Bay Packers: In a conference call with local reporters, Packers executives Mark Murphy and Jason Weid said the team hopes to avoid layoffs during the lockout, but that employee salaries and new hiring have been frozen, according to Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Top executives could face "relatively sizable" pay reductions, Weid said. That list includes Murphy, general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy.
Plans remain in place for a $13-$14 million in upgrades to Lambeau Field.