NFC North Tour: Burress To Bears?

Plaxico Burress, fresh off a 20-month prison sentence, is interested in playing for Bears; the Lions want to re-sign Cliff Avril; Ryan Longwell likes the Vikings and new coach Leslie Frazier.

Wide receiver Plaxico Burress will be a free agent once the lockout ends and there's no telling how much interest there will be in a 34-year-old wide receiver coming off a 20-month prison term, but that hasn't stopped him from a media blitz.

Burress has taken advantage of the dearth of offseason news by keeping himself in the media's radar, and on Tuesday told the "Carmen, Jurko & Harry" radio show that the Chicago Bears are one of three teams he's interested in playing for.

"Oh without question, without a doubt (the Bears are among his top three choices)," Burress told the ESPN 1000 radio show. "My decision making is going to come down to what I said, playing with an elite quarterback, playing with a running game, playing with a great tight end, and Greg Olsen is already that guy, in my estimation he'll be a Pro Bowler this season.

"That's the same situation I went into when I made my decision to go to New York (to play with the Giants), and it's a pretty similar situation."

Burress has already said playing with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick would be "a dream come true." Who the third team on Burress' wish list is remains uncertain. Last week he praised the New York Jets and coach Rex Ryan, while also saying he believes the Houston Texans are an up-and-coming team to watch for.

"I can't say where I'm already going," Burress told the radio show. "There are a lot of situations for me to go into. It's not solely going to be based on how much I'm going to be making. It's going to be based on me putting myself in a great situation. Me going to a city where I'm going to be embraced by the fans, and going to an organization that I can help and make the other players around me have the impact, go out and score some touchdowns and hopefully win the Super Bowl."

Burress was released from prison June 6 after serving nearly two years on gun charges.

Lions: Avril among priorities

Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will be one of the most highly-coveted free agents once the league year starts, but the Detroit Lions aren't expected to be serious bidders despite a glaring need for improved coverage.

Detroit finished 16th in pass defense last season, but that was primarily due to a strong pass rush and often playing behind with the league's 24th-ranked run defense under constant siege. The Lions struggled on the corners, but the Detroit Free Press cited a team source that said Asomugha will likely prove "too expensive" for Detroit to seriously court.

The Houston Texans, who finished last in past defense last year, are expected to be among the most aggressive pursuers.

Asomugha wasn't available to be given the franchise tag by the Oakland Raiders before the lockout because of a stipulation in his contract (he signed a three-year, $45.3 million deal in 2009 that allowed for the contract to be voided if Asomugha didn't reach certain incentives that weren't likely to be earned). Raiders owner Al Davis said the team would still like to talk about a contract with Asomugha, but he'll be one of the top names on the free-agent market once it opens.

According to the Free Press, potential free agents such as Antonio Cromartie (Jets), Johnathan Joseph (Bengals) or Ike Taylor (Steelers) could be a higher priority for the Lions. Much will depend on the framework of the new collective bargaining agreement, including tags for free agents and salary cap.

One of the Lions' priorities will be re-signing defensive end Cliff Avril, who was tendered before the lockout started but who could become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

"Cliff has told me his desire is to stay there," agent Brian Mackler told the Free Press. "He enjoys it. His first two years were very rough. Now, in terms of the atmosphere, I think coach (Jim) Schwartz and (president) Tom (Lewand) have really turned it around, where the expectations are that they'll have the best defensive line in football."

Vikings: Longwell hopes to re-sign

Kicker Ryan Longwell will be a free agent once the lockout ends, but he told FOXSportsNorth.com that his priority is to re-sign with the Vikings.

"Our full intention to go back to Minnesota and put together another good stretch of years up there," he said. "It does seem like a really good fit. I am a firm believer in the way coach (Leslie) Frazier approaches coaching and life and approaches people."

Longwell completed a five-year deal with the Vikings having made 43 of 46 field-goal attempts over the past two seasons. Having come to Minnesota from Green Bay, Longwell knows free agency is inherently unpredictable.

"You have to be ready for something else, just in case," he said. "Whether I play one more game or five or 10 more years, who knows? But you want to leave a legacy of leadership, and in the spiritual realm that is obviously very important to us."


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