NFC North Hot News

Teams around the division continue to sign a couple free agents here and there, and draft hopefuls are making the rounds to other NFC North teams. Find out who is adding who, and which college players are visiting which teams.

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

Chicago Bears

Bears lose backup lineman
Kevin Dogins signed with the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday. The offensive lineman spent the last two years with the Bears mostly in a backup role. However, due to injuries Dogins played in 15 games last season and started eight.

The Bears didn’t offer unrestricted free agent a contract, because they have several young players ready to fill a similar role. Terrence Metcalf, Bernard Robertson and Steve Edwards can all play multiple positions.

Top flight CB visits Windy City
CB Terance Newman, rated by many experts the best prospect in the draft, visited Bears headquarters on Wednesday.

Quarterback battling for roster position
Henry Burris will be battling for a roster spot in training camp. Trying to gain more experience the quarterback decided to go to NFL Europe. In the season opener for the Berlin Thunder Burris put up decent numbers, but his team lost to the Scottish Claymores.

While splitting time, Burris threw for 149 yards on 12-16 passing to go with one touchdown and interception. He also ran he a score.

At this point Burris is a long shot to be with the Bears next year, but with a good couple of months could latch on somewhere else.

Center visiting Cleveland
Dogins, a center with the Chicago Bears, worked out for the Browns this week. He is one of several offensive linemen who have been in Cleveland this week.

Possible role model in Chicago?
Alex Brown was a dominant pass rusher at Florida, but that translated to just 2.5 sacks in his rookie campaign. Brown will be expected to increase that number in 2003 and could with the help of new assistant defensive line coach Richard Dent. Dent finished his career with 137.5 sacks (124.5 with Chicago).

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.

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.

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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