NFC North Hot News

Now that the draft has passed, teams around the division have signed more rookie free agents and are beginning the first camps of the off-season. We1ve got updates from around the NFC North.

Hot News updates from, and


Lions try to get Streets

GM Terry Donahue did not entertain what he would call any serious trade inquiries for WR Tai Streets. Donahue said Detroit Lions GM Matt Millen called to ask for Streets in exchange for an unknown player and a fifth-round draft choice. Donahue scoffed at the notion that the 49ers would have parted ways with Streets for "a fifth."

"Maybe he thought I1d been drinking a fifth," Donahue quipped. "It wasn1t a serious discussion. It was just Matt Millen trying. I told him that we think Streets is a starting player. He caught 70-plus balls for us last year. We1re not going to trade our starting receiver."

Redding1s scouting report
Cory Redding is a very enthusiastic, high energy defensive lineman. A hard worker, has a quick first step but maybe not the top speed of an edge rusher. Some consider him a defensive tackle in a defensive end's body. Good strength that makes him good at the point of attack. Was a finalist for the Lombardi Award. Very determined, high energy, wants to make it in the NFL.

Kircus eady to prove himself
Charles Rogers wasn't the only Michigan-grown wide receiver the Lions had their eye on in the draft over the weekend. Just 83 miles west of Michigan State University in East Lansing, where Rogers was wowing Big Ten opponents and NFL scouts the past two years, David Kircus was burning up the NCAA Division II competition at Grand Valley State University. In his final two years at Grand Valley, Kircus gathered in a total of 57 touchdown passes, including 35 during the 2002 season when he and quarterback Curt Anes led the Lakers to a national championship.

Kircus was literally too fast and too slick to be covered by Division II defensive backs and he showed in two post-season all-star games -- the Hula Bowl and Paradise Bowl -- that he could compete against Division I players. His stock rose over the past month after a workout in which he ran a 4.41 40-yard dash and demonstrated a 40-inch vertical. The Lions were impressed enough to take him in the sixth round of the draft. The only question is whether Kircus -- relatively small at 6-feet-1 1/4 and 182 pounds -- will be able to play and hold up physically for a 16-game NFL schedule.

"I'm up to the challenge," Kircus said Sunday. "I can't wait to get in there and see what I cam do against the best players in the world."

Lions almost traded pick
The Lions had trade offers from at least four teams before deciding to keep the No. 2 pick and draft wide receiver Charles Rogers of Michigan State. New England, New Orleans, Dallas and the New York Jets approached the Lions to move up in the draft. And Lions president Matt Millen admitted that the offers had been tempting, considering how many holes he has to fill in the team that went 3-13 last year.

"Don Corleone did not visit us," Millen said, referring to fictitious mob boss. "And we were okay with that. "I was looking forward to that but until that happens, until there's a deal you can't refuse, you do what's right."

The Patriots are believed to have made the most generous offer -- two first-round picks and their second-round pick, but the Cowboys' probably would have been most appealing to the Lions because they could have traded down just three spots and still have been able to get an elite player. Eventually, however, the Lions decided the right thing to do was take Rogers as a battery mate for quarterback Joey Harrington. "There were some offers presented that we needed to discuss and weigh the pros and cons," head coach Steve Mariucci said. "And unanimously we all felt this was the right thing to do, and I'm sure the fans feel the same way."

Dealt to Cowboys
Lions' running back Aveion Cason was dealt to the Dallas Cowboys for one of the Cowboys1 three seventh-round selections. Cason was coveted by the Cowboys since Bill Parcells became their head coach in February.

Cason is recognized as a speed running back with solid receiving skills, but became expendable with the drafting of Artose Pinner in the fourth round. Cason isn't the only Lion leaving Detroit, though.

Traded to Cardinals
The Detroit Lions decided to unload wide receiver Larry Foster to the Arizona Cardinals for a seventh-round draft pick. Foster, a third-year player out of LSU, saw action in 36 games for the Lions with five starts and made 53 receptions for 610 yards and one touchdown. He was also used as a special teams returner and coverage player.

The Cardinals had dire receiver needs after losing David Boston and Frank Sanders to free agency. Arizona drafted Bryant Johnston of Penn State in the first round and Florida State's Anquan Boldin in the third round.

2nd is a common theme for Boss
Boss Bailey may have been unhappy that he slid out of the first round, but he didn't fall too far. The Detroit Lions picked Bailey with the 2nd pick of the 2nd round. Second was a theme for Bailey as he was also the 2nd linebacker taken overall in the draft. Bailey's physical numbers are off the charts, including a mind-boggling 48-inch vertical jump. He should make an immediate impact on special teams, and he has the ability to work his way into the rotation very early with his speed and coverage ability.

Bailey falls to Lions in second round
It didn't take long for the Detroit Lions to make their second-round choice, and they used their choice on Georgia LB Boss Bailey.
Bailey was a consensus first-round selection but fell into the second round, giving the Lions a relative no brainer. With linebacker being a need and Boss being a good value at the Lions' spot, the Lions wasted no time.

The brother of Redskins star corner Champ Bailey, the former Georgia standout fits right into the Lions' plans of having excellent speed on defense. Although Boss does trade strength for speed, he measures up at 6'3, 233.


Resting sore ankle

Oft-injured cornerback Bhawoh Jue has been watching from the sidelines this week as many of his teammates practice. Jue recently underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his ankle. He also had hernia surgery last fall. He was placed on injured reserve in October of last year.

Jue is expected to compete for a chance to start at right cornerback against Al Harris when training camp opens in mid-July.

Sitting out of minicamp
Pro Bowl guard Marco Rivera is sitting out of the post-draft minicamp as a precautionary measure. Rivera underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in early February. He played the latter half of last season with torn medial collateral ligaments in both knees. He was named to his first Pro Bowl last season.

Punter Josh Bidwell has re-signed with the team. Terms of the contract were not released. Backup TE Tyrone Davis also has re-signed with the team. Terms of that deal were not released.

Favre tired of questions
Brett Favre put his foot down, and from now on will decline to answer any questions from the media regarding his retirement from football. The future Hall of Fame quarterback told reporters today that he will not answer any more questions regarding the issue simply because he still is uncertain how much longer he will continue to play football.

Favre said the steady questions about his retirement throughout the season last year were an "annoyance" but not a distraction. He said he feels great and is in good shape but is uncertain how much longer he will play football. One thing is certain, he doesn't want to talk about when he is going to hang it up.

"Just leave it alone," Favre said. "I don't know. I really don't know. I hope that it's not injury that forces me out. If I can still play the way I'm capable of playing and able to compete the way I feel I can compete, we'll just see. We'll leave it at that, and at the end of the season, I won't be fielding all those questions again."

Veteran center re-signs
Center Frank Winters and the Packers agreed to a contract. Terms of the deal were not released, but it is likely for one season.

Winters, 39, is entering his 17th season as a pro. He has been with the Green Bay Packers since 1992 when he was acquired as a Plan B free agent. Last year he played in 16 games and made 10 starts because of injuries to other linemen. He also started in Green Bay1s playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Recovering from pulled hamstring
Safety Marques Anderson is not expected to participate in Green Bay's post-draft minicamp because of a pulled hamstring. Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman said today that Anderson pulled his hamstring two to three weeks ago and will be working out on his own.

Anderson was one of the top rookies in the league last year, starting in the team's last 11 games and playoff game against Atlanta. He finished with four interceptions and scored two touchdowns.

Rehabbing shoulder
Defensive tackle Rod Walker will not participate in the Packers' post-draft minicamp. Walker underwent minor shoulder surgery this off-season and has been working out with trainers to regain strength.

Walker played in 13 games last year, starting in five. He also started in Green Bay's playoff game against Atlanta. Walker is expected to be ready in time for the start of training camp in mid-July.

Pederson will get chance
Veteran quarterback Doug Pederson was re-signed by the Green Bay Packers. Coach and general manager Mike Sherman indicated at his post-draft press conference Sunday that Pederson will get an opportunity to compete for the backup job behind Brett Favre against third-year pro Craig Nall.

Pederson is entering his 11th season. He was Brett Favre's primary backup in 1998 and 2001 as well.

Unlikely to be back with the Pack
Veteran offensive tackle Earl Dotson was not invited to the team's post-draft minicamp and is not in Green Bay's plans for this season, according to a report. Dotson played in 14 games for Green Bay last year, starting 11 at right tackle, after Mark Tauscher suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 2.

Dotson is entering his 11th NFL season and was a regular starter at right tackle from 1995-99.

"I think we'll probably go without trying to re-sign Earl," director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "That's the plan. I think he wants to play but I really haven't had any contact with Earl."

Top passer in NFL Europe wins another
Quarterback Craig Nall, property of the Green Bay Packers, threw for three touchdowns in the Scottish Claymores' 34-17 win over the Berlin Thunder. The Claymores improved to 2-2 with the victory.
Nall leads all quarterbacks in NFL Europe in yardage, accuracy rating and touchdown passes.

Will debut at QB this week
Former Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch, the St. Louis Rams' third-round pick last year as a wide receiver, will play quarterback in his debut with the Packers in minicamp this week.

"I can't believe how he went through waivers and no one claimed him because of the athlete that he is," coach Mike Sherman said. "He's certainly someone we can work with. "He also can run around in practice and challenge our defense while he's developing in our system. One thing I wanted to get done in free agency was find a running quarterback who could give our defense a look in practice."

Moved to strongside linebacker
Third-year pro Torrance Marshall will play behind Na'il Diggs at the strongside linebacker position, Packers coach/GM Mike Sherman said. Sherman drafted Nick Barnett with the Packers' first-round pick and signed Hannibal Navies in March to improve Green Bay's linebacking corp.

Marshall played a variety of positions, including fullback, last year after failing to beat out Hardy Nickerson for the starting middle linebacker job. Marshall was playing at weakside linebacker behind Nate Wayne near the end of the season, but now has been moved to the 'Buck' linebacker position.


Plenty of opportunity to impress

Third-round draft pick Nate Burleson is an accomplished receiver who gives the Vikings some depth at a position that had a lot of questions heading into the draft. Thanks to an injury to their top running back, the folks at Nevada went to a pass-happy scheme last year, and the result was Burleson -- whose older brother Kevin just finished his basketball career at the University of Minnesota -- catching a NCAA-best 138 passes, just four short of the all-time single-season record. Burleson is not a burner, but he is very quick out of his cuts, allowing his separation.

And he comes to the Vikings at a good time. After Randy Moss, D'Wayne Bates and Kelly Campbell -- whom the Vikings don't feel is big enough to be an every-down receiver -- the Vikings have a lot of questions at WR. Derrick Alexander and Kenny Clark are coming back from injury, and veteran Chris Walsh has yet to be re-signed.

Burleson is acquainted with Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan; Linehan was at Washington when another of Burleson's brothers played there, and Linehan recruited the younger Burleson out of high school before leaving Washington for Louisville. Burleson is perhaps the most polished receiver in the draft, able to play all three receiver positions. "We think he's a perfect fit for us," Linehan said. "I think he's a guy who can develop into a battle for the No. 2 spot."

Browns lose out to Vikings for free agent
Huge offensive tackle Adam Goldberg from Wyoming decided to sign with the Minnesota Vikings after weighing offers from the Browns and four other teams. Goldberg also got offers from the 49ers, Giants, Jets, and Redskins. It was expected that Goldberg would have an opportunity to get drafted but received six offers within a half-hour of the draft ending on Sunday.

Steal of a pick?
Second-round LB E.J. Henderson doesn1t fill a huge need, but he was too good a value to pass up. The Vikings had him among the top 20 players in the draft and as clearly the best linebacker. Henderson, though, may have slid a bit because of a back injury that required surgery a year ago. Still, this gives the Vikings two Butkus Award winners on the same roster -- Chris Claiborne is the other one -- and the best middle linebacker in the draft.

He is not exceptionally fast, but he is instinctive enough to make up for it. He is a hard hitter and a sure tackler, which will allow him to contribute right away on special teams. He will be inserted in the middle behind veteran Greg Biekert, who will tutor the young player, preparing him to start, as early as the 2004 season. "He's smart, he's physical, he runs good enough," said Scott Studwell, the Vikings' director of college scouting. "We feel, all of a sudden, we've taken this linebacker corps and built it into a very strong unit."

Vikings may have interest in LB
According to the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, Jackson State linebacker Elgin Andrews has worked out and received some phone calls from the Browns and Vikings. Andrews was not selected in last weekend's draft and hopes to get a chance to play as a rookie free agent.

Chaos aside, he's who team wanted
Despite the draft-day mayhem, fact is, the Vikings got the player they wanted in the first round in Kevin Williams. And that is more than just spin. Talking to several sources who took part in the draft preparation process, the Vikings decided that Dewayne Robertson and Williams were the two best players for them in the first round, the two players who fit their need for a defensive tackle who could take pressure off Chris Hovan with a strong pass rush. Robertson went No. 4. So the Vikings were ready and willing to take Williams when their pick came up.

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