NFC North Hot News

After weeks of hectic signings in the initial stages of free agency, most teams in the division are beginning to gear for the draft and wait for answers on a few remaining contract proposals.

Hot News around the NFC North Division from BearReport.com, LionsFans.com, PackerReport.com and VikingUpdate.com.


CHICAGO BEARS

Yet another position

Mike Gandy started at left guard and tackle in 2002. All signs pointed to him remaining as the Bears' left tackle for the upcoming season, but at the NFL Owners Meetings Coach Dick Jauron said Gandy would go into training camp at right tackle.

Will protect Stewart's blindside
The speculation of where Marc Colombo would line up next year began to clear up when Bears Coach Dick Jauron said he's the team's left tackle heading into training camp. It looked as if Colombo would go back to the right side where he played the majority of his college career, allowing Mike Gandy to remain at left tackle, a position he started the final six games of the season.

For now, the two will flip-flop, but that could change by the time the season starts.

Suggs to run again
After straining a muscle in his leg during this week's workout, Terrell Suggs will again be working out for NFL scouts on April 18. The Bears are said to have an interest in drafting Suggs.

Bears could have a family feel
Brian Urlacher may not be the only Urlacher on the team come next season. His younger brother Casey is eligible for the draft and is being pursued by several teams, including the Bears. Casey Urlacher will work out at Halas Hall in mid April.

There is a chance the fullback might not be drafted, but the Bears might take a chance because the team has five selections over the last two rounds.

Hopes to turn some heads
Jacques Cesaire, the standout Southern Connecticut defensive lineman, worked out for a number of teams on Tuesday. Attending the workout, according to the New Haven Register, were the Browns, Dolphins, Patriots, Bears, Jets, Colts, Redskins, Vikings, Seahawks, Cowboys and Chargers. "They know who I am now and that's really important," Cesaire told the New Haven Register. "I hope I solidified myself as a free agent pickup after the draft. If I'm lucky enough, I'll be drafted. This is step one in a big process."

Should gain valuable experience
Travis Coleman is one of three players allocated by the Bears to NFL Europe that finished the season on the team's active roster. Coleman showed well in training camp and stuck with the team on the practice squad before spending the final seven games of the season as a backup defensive back. He'll suit up for the two-time defending NFL Europe champion Berlin Thunder.

Coleman has a good shot to make the 53-man roster in 2003, and the chance to play in Europe could be a springboard to being the team's nickel cornerback.

Works out for NFL clubs
Phil Bogle, the well-regarded tackle from University of New Haven, worked out for a number of clubs on Tuesday. Attending the workout, according to the New Haven Register, were the Browns, Dolphins, Patriots, Bears, Jets, Colts, Redskins, Vikings, Seahawks, Cowboys and Chargers. Also working out for the clubs were Southern Connecticut State defensive lineman Jacques Cesaire and SCSU standout (1996-99) Rashaan Dumas.

Moving up on the depth chart
Adrian Peterson showed well in limited action as a rookie, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. The running back displayed enough that the Bears management is confident that Peterson can be the team's second back.

With Leon Johnson going to the St. Louis Rams, that leaves Peterson as the backup to Anthony Thomas. Although the Bears will add a change of pace back at some point, Peterson could even be given a chance to supplant Thomas as the starter.


DETROIT LIONS

Moving up draft boards

After yet another sizzling workout, Kevin Curtis continues to improve his draft stock. The belief is he could end up with either Kansas City or St. Louis in the second round.

Re-signed
OG Josh Lovelady and LB Donte' Curry have been re-signed.


GREEN BAY PACKERS

Making progress with Packers

The agent for Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and the Green Bay Packers had lengthy contract talks this week at the NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix.

"We're working on this and trying to make some things happen," said Andrew Brandt, Green Bay's negotiator.

Gbaja-Biamila's agent, Bruce Tollner, also met with Eagles officials this week regarding a contract. But Eagles coach Andy Reid said that talks with the defensive end were "dead."

Returns for workout program
Guard Bill Ferrario, who was expected to receive playing time at center this spring in NFL Europe, will not be playing in the spring league. Ferrario took part in the NFL-E training camp in Tampa, Fla., but returned to Green Bay this week for "personal reasons," according to the Packers.

After three weeks in the Berlin Thunder's training camp, Ferrario reported that he made a lot of progress.

"It's definitely been a positive experience," he told packers.com. "If I was in Green Bay right now, I'd just be lifting and running. But down here I'm getting experience and reps, actually working on the exchange with the quarterback and on snapping the ball and then pass blocking or run blocking."

Anxious to play in NFL Europe
Craig Nall, who is expected to compete for a backup quarterback job behind Brett Favre this season, is thrilled to be getting a chance to play this spring in NFL Europe. Nall departed Wednesday for Scotland where he will lead the Claymores.

"I need to play well," Nall said. "I came over here to get experience. I don't know if it's do or die, but it would be good to come out and have a good showing all season."

Nall was the Packers' third-string QB last year behind veteran Doug Pederson. He did not take any snaps from scrimmage and got few, if any, reps during practices.

Says he wants out of Green Bay
Linebacker Na'il Diggs, who signed an offer sheet from the Detroit Lions last weekend, reportedly does not want Green Bay to match. Diggs, a restricted free agent, apparently is unhappy that the Packers tendered him the minimum qualifying offer of ($605,000).

The Packers have until Monday to match Detroit's offer. If they do not match, they will receive a fourth-round draft pick as compensation from Detroit.

Holding pattern
The Cardinals are believed to still be the front-runners in the race for DE Vonnie Holliday. Seattle has made an offer, and he's expected to visit Kansas City, but neither team is expected to match what has been reported as a large offer from Arizona. Holliday is expected to make a decision soon.

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