Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
There was no shortage of optimism at Detroit's practice facility following a strong offseason program and a 4-0 preseason. Some players and coaches believed the franchise had turned the corner. Then, 0-16 happened.
Lions linebacker Ernie Sims, for one, has learned his lesson. Speaking to Detroit-area reporters, Sims wouldn't agree that there should be cautious optimism about the 2009 team:
"Naw, I'm not cautious because that's what it is. I'm being real. It might look good on paper right now and it might look good because they're running good in offseason training, but it really matters when it's Sunday and the lights are on and it's game time."
(Quote courtesy Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.)
Sims said he has spent the past 2 1/2 months mostly in isolation to put last season behind him:
"I went home and went into the country and didn't come out and didn't talk to nobody. And now I'm back. I went into the country, into the woods. I disappeared. I went fishing and caught me a 10-pound bass. I did all kinds of stuff. I just got away, relaxed and let my body heal up."
Sims is a pretty quiet guy and mostly keeps to himself. But from this vantage point, it seems he has the right kind of personality to navigate the Lions' rebuilding project.
Continuing around the NFC North a bit later than normal on this Friday morning:
Lynn Henning of the Detroit News attended Thursday's pro day for Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford. Lions general manager Martin Mayhew also was in attendance but declined comment.
Chicago receiver Earl Bennett said he had trouble learning the Bears' plays as a rookie, according to Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.
The Bears completed their three-day minicamp Thursday and will return April 6 to begin the strength and conditioning portion of their offseason.
According to this story from Megan Manfull of the Houston Chronicle, Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris will join a group of NFL players traveling this month to Nigeria.
Cornerback Karl Paymah and receiver/kick returner Glenn Holt believe they have a chance to win the Super Bowl with Minnesota, an unbelieving Mark Craig reports for the Star Tribune.
In case you missed it Thursday night, Green Bay safety Nick Collins has skipped the start of the Packers' offseason program because of a lack of progress towards a new contract. Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal has the story.