NFC North Hot News

Notes from around the division on free-agent players, new coaches, surgeries and keys to success for certain teams, as we compile Hot News from around the NFC North.

Hot News compiled from, and

Authorities in Mille Lacs County want to talk to quarterback Todd Bouman as they investigate a second sexual assault allegation following the Arctic Blast fundraiser.

To Frankfurt for work
Offensive tackle Lorenzo White has been allocated to the Frankfurt Galaxy of the NFL Europe league. White spent the final 12 weeks of the 2002 regular season on the Vikings practice squad. He was coached at Iowa State by Vikings offensive line coach Steve Loney.

Extended-stay trip to Scotland
Offensive lineman Kenny Sandlin has been allocated to the Scottish Claymores for the NFL Europe season. Sandlin was signed in midseason in 2002, then released and re-signed again. This will be his chance to develop through playing time and then prove his worth to Vikings coaches when he returns to Minnesota for training camp.

Something Admiral
Quarterback Shaun Hill has been allocated to the NFL Europe, where he will play for Amsterdam this spring.

Going to Europe
Wide receiver Kenny Clark has been allocated to play in NFL Europe this spring. Clark spent most of the 2001 season on the practice squad and the 2002 season on injured reserve. Still, the team likes Clark's potential, and will follow him closely.

OL re-signed
The Vikings re-signed offensive lineman Jon Carman. The tackle was with the team from Oct. 22 to Nov. 8 last year and has also played for Buffalo.

Disappointing year, but still valuable
A knee injury in the first week limited Byron Chamberlain all season, and the team may have been less than thrilled with his conditioning and weight as the season went on. Still, he is a deep threat over the middle when healthy.

Mooch likes Joey's style
New coach Steve Mariucci stopped far short of naming Joey Harrington his starting quarterback, but did have kind words. "You've got a guy in Joey Harrington that may not run around quite like Steve Young or Jeff Garcia or Michael Vick, but nevertheless certainly can be a great West Coast type of quarterback," Mariucci told the Detroit News. "I know a lot about Joey Harrington. The 49ers at the time felt just like the Lions did, that he certainly was a top-shelf quarterback coming out in the draft. We felt at the time he was going to be a heck of a quarterback in this league for a long time. I think he's got a lot to offer."

In hunt for starting role?
Everyone assumes Joey Harrington and Mike McMahon are the future of the team under center, but when asked about who would start next season, new coach Steve Mariucci told the Detroit Free Press: "You forgot about Ty Detmer. I've been around Ty with the Packers and 49ers, and here he is again."

A nice surprise It looked like the return game was finished when Desmond Howard suffered an early-season neck injury but rookie WR Eddie Drummond stepped in nicely, averaging 26.0 yards on kickoff returns (third in the NFC) and 7.7 on punt returns. More important, Drummond had numerous big plays in the second half of the season -- a 73-yard punt return TD against Arizona, a 91-yard kickoff return against Tampa Bay and an 88-yard kickoff return against Atlanta.

Re-signs for three years
Mikhael Ricks: Tight end Mikhael Ricks, an alternate for the NFC Pro Bowl team, re-signed with the Lions for three years.

Key to defensive plan
Green Bay is horribly weak up the middle on defense and it must be rectified. If defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt leaves as an unrestricted free agent, the Packers must re-sign defensive end Vonnie Holliday and then kick him inside to Hunt's position at "eagle" tackle.

Has interest in Vikings
Defensive end Vonnie Holliday, whose contract with the Green Bay Packers expires at the end of the month, has an interest in signing with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are about $25 million under the salary cap. Holliday's agent said if he cannot work out a contract extension with the Green Bay Packers by the time free agency begins on March 1, Holliday will test the market.

Ahman, Part I
Running back Ahman Green allegedly failed to report a traffic accident Jan. 28 after he spun out of control in snowy conditions between Green Bay and Milwaukee. No other cars were involved, but police said his SUV crashed through a fence separating two highways. He could face up to a $450 fine and have his driver's license revoked.

Ahman, Part II
With 3,802 yards the past three season, Ahman Green already ranks seventh on the team's all-time rushing list. With 1,240 more, he'll move to second, behind only Jim Taylor's 8,207. "For me, all that makes me think is basically my hard work is paying off," Green told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I'm very honored to be mentioned in the same sentence with those guys, but I feel I've still got a long way to go. They did a lot of great things when they were here, but if I want to be just as good as they were, I've still got to do a lot of things around here myself."

Ahman, Part III
Ahman Green, by rushing for 1,240 yards in 2002 owns three of the top six 1,000-yard rushing seasons in Packers history. His '02 total ranks fifth, behind his 2001 season of 1,387 yards (third-best in Packers annals) and ahead of his 1,175 in 2000 (sixth overall). Jim Taylor, with a club-record 1,474 yards in 1962 and 1,307 in 1961 (fourth), and Dorsey Levens with 1,435 in 1997 (second) have "out-rushed" Green over a single season.

Undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery
Pro Bowl guard Marco Rivera underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday. Rivera played the latter half of last season with torn medial collateral ligaments in both knees. He is expected to be ready to participate in Green Bay's post-draft minicamp. Rivera played in his first Pro Bowl Sunday, rotating every other series at guard with Jermaine Mayberry.

A decent showing
Ryan Longwell, who ranked 28th in field-goal percentage during the regular season last year at 64.5 percent (20 of 31), improved to eighth this year at 82.4 percent (28 of 34). Also, Longwell averaged 62.76 yards and 3.73 seconds of hang time on 82 kickoffs, about a yard less than in 2000 but 1 1/2 yards more than last year.

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