NFC North Hot News

The Vikings lose a corner while the Packers will miss Vonnie Holiday. has the most recent hot news regarding each NFC North foe that has transpired over the past week.

Below is an update on the teams within the NFC North division. News gathered from,, and Most recent news bits sorted first.

Green Bay Packers

Receives Remmel Award
Wide receiver Donald Driver was one of five state sports figures honored at the sixth annual Lee Remmel Sports Awards Banquet Thursday in De Pere. Driver received the Professional Achievement Award after a season in which he became a full-time starter for the Packers.

Driver finished with 70 catches for 1,064 yards and nine touchdowns. He played for the NFC in the Pro Bowl as an alternate.

Remmel is the Packers' longtime public relations director.

Packers among interested teams
DT Jermaine Haley has become a hot commodity this week, with Green Bay believed to be negotiating with him, and Washington and New England also believed to be interested. Haley would cost a team a seventh-round pick to sign, although the Dolphins are interested in getting a higher pick and trading him.

Signs with Packers
DE Chuckie Nwokorie has signed with the Packers. Terms of the deal were not released.

Signs with Packers
DE Chuckie Nwokorie has signed with the Packers. Terms of the deal were not released.

Long-time Packer may not return
The Packers still are deciding whether to bring back Gilbert Brown for a 10th season. Brown is just two years older than Miami nose tackle Jermaine Haley, who visited the Packers earlier this week, but has missed considerable time with injuries.

If the Packers sign Haley, a restricted free agent, to an offer sheet, and Miami does not match, Brown probably will not return. But there's a chance that the Packers will bring Brown back anyway to compete for a starting job, or to serve in a backup role.

Unsung Hero
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila will be honored at the 30th annual NFL fever/NFL Players Awards Gala on Thursday along with 31 other NFL players as "Unsung Heroes."

One player from each team is selected for their contributions on and off the field as voted on by fans and players.

Leaves for Kansas City
Defensive end Vonnie Holliday signed a five-year deal today with the Kansas City Chiefs. Holliday reportedly received a signing bonus of between $3 million to $4 million, according to reports.

Holliday, 27, also was weighing an offer from the Arizona Cardinals that was more lucrative but he opted for the Chiefs because they have a better chance of making the playoffs.

Offensive lineman Acquired
The Packers traded a conditional seventh-round pick in '04 to Washington for guard-center David Brandt. Last year, Brandt left the Redskins before the start of training camp and didn't play. The year before, he signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan and started two of 13 games at guard. Brandt will be competing for a roster berth with another former Big Ten player, guard-center Bill Ferrario. He was a fourth-round pick in 2001, the same year that Brandt came out. The Packers wanted Ferrario to go to NFL Europe and learn how to play center. But after going through training camp in Florida Ferrario refused to go, citing personal reasons.

Minnesota Vikings

Vikes lose corner
CB Tyrone Carter has agreed to a two-year deal with the New York Jets. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Eyeing return specialist
Return specialist Hodges Mitchell worked out for the team on Wednesday. He was an undrafted free agent last season.

Selects Vikings over Pack
The Vikings continued to shore up the defense earlier this week, signing another defensive back. Ron Israel, who was expected to be drafted last year coming out of Notre Dame before suffering a severe hamstring injury, signed a two-year deal for what VU is told is near league minimum with a modest signing bonus. Israel had reduced his wish list to two teams -- the Vikes and Packers -- before opting to come to Minnesota.

While Israel is listed as a cornerback by some, don't be surprised to see him lined up at minicamp playing safety. He is expected to get a shot at earning a starting job at safety, which is looking more like an open competition all the time.

Minnesota calls it quits during negotiation process
The Vikings have officially quit talking with WR Oronde Gadsden. After trying for two weeks to reach a contract agreement, the Vikings have stopped negotiating with his attorneys. Gadsden isn't sitting at home moping, however. He's in Boston today visiting with the Patriots.

Former Lion needs to shed pounds
The Vikings want Chris Claiborne to shed a few more pounds and be more active as an outside linebacker. Apparently the rationale is defensive coordinator George O’Leary’s desire to tinker with a 3-4 defense.

Viking is Jamaica-bound
One thing is for sure. Defensive tackle Chris Hovan is going to have to dress better for TV than he does for his workouts at Winter Park, where he wears ripped shorts and muscle shirts. Hovan is going big time. He is one of ten athletes who will compete in the 2003 Rx Superstars in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The format -- famous in the 70s -- is being revived by CBS.

Detroit Lions

A Gary in their future?
RB Olandis Gary visited Detroit this week, even though the Lions have James Stewart and Shawn Bryson. GM Matt Millen said he's fine with a competition for playing time.

Green finds former team reported Thursday that Jacquez Green has agreed to a one-year contract to return to Tampa Bay, the team that drafted him. The deal is expected to be for the league minimum $535,000.

Holmes inks three-year deal
The Detroit Lions have signed their second middle linebacker in a span of two weeks after reaching a three-year deal with former Cleveland Browns linebacker Earl Holmes.

Last week, the ball club signed another former Brown, Wali Rainer, who spent last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. While it was believed Rainer would immediately start, the more talented Holmes may be given the nod.

Holmes, 29, led Cleveland with 128 tackles in 2002. He led the Pittsburgh Steelers in tackles the previous three seasons.

The 6'2, 245 pound Florida A&M product will earn $1.75 million this season.

Going strong at 40
At the tender age of 40, guard Ray Brown figures he could get by without some of the offseason staples generally associated with NFL life -- the early mini-camp, the off-season workouts and conditioning runs. But when Lions president Matt Millen called to offer him a contract shortly after the NFL combine wrapped up in late February, what could Brown say? “It's like, `Are you ready?' “ Brown said, laughing. “I guess so. I had to start training.” Actually, the training part wasn't that much of an imposition on Brown. The 17-year NFL veteran had already begun his off-season running program at his home in the San Francisco area, and figured the lifting would hurt as he returns for a second year as a starting guard with the Lions. Moreover, Brown feels good about the presence of new coach Steve Mariucci. Brown played five years under Mariucci at San Francisco, so he is familiar with what Mariucci expects of his players. “He brings a great level of excitement, and it's not rehearsed,” Brown said. “It really is genuine. I wonder where he gets the energy from, but the guy is passionate about football and I think the players are going to pick up on that."

Move to the middle off ... for now
For a couple of days in minicamp, Barrett Green was excited and enthused about moving from the weakside to become the Lions middle linebacker. ``It's going to be an adjustment, but it's definitely something I feel comfortable with for the simple fact it allows me to use my assets, which are my ability -- as soon as the ball is snapped -- to go and attack,'' Green said. The day after the the minicamp ended, however, the Lions reached agreement with Wali Rainer on a two-year contract worth $1.8 million, giving a pretty good impression they are expecting Rainer to replace Chris Claiborne (signed by Minnesota as an unrestricted free agent) in the middle. That doesn't mean Green no longer figures in coach Steve Mariucci's plans. It is likely, however, that he will be back at the weakside linebacker job rather than trying to patrol the middle. ``Barrett did a nice job inside and we will keep him alive there,'' Mariucci said, ``but he is very well-suited to be that weakside linebacker.'' [Update: Newly signed Earl Holmes will patrol them middle for Detroit, while Rainer and Green flank the new Lion]

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