NFC North Hot News

Hot News and quotes concerning players across the NFC North Division, with special attention paid to restructured deals, veterans cut loose and injuries on the mend.

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Hope for a return

Despite the fact that the Bears have John Gilmore and Dustin Lyman under contract next season and have hinted that they could select a tight end in the draft there is a chance John Davis might return next season.

Davis finished the year with 20 receptions and three touchdowns but missed time due to a back problem. He started eight games, while missing six to injury, including the final five.

Mr. Robinson's Chicago home
The Bears haven't released wide receiver Marcus Robinson and his $2 million base salary yet because they're still watching the progress of David Terrell, who is coming off season-ending foot surgery.

Loving tenders
Dez White has been given a tender offer of $605,000 by the Bears, and Mike Green has been given a tender offer of $605,000.

Ravens reverse decision, consider Stewart
The Baltimore Ravens are now reported to be interested in Kordell Stewart. The Ravens believe that Kordell would be a good fit for them. Earlier reports from the Ravens disputed claims by SteelCitySports that in fact they would be interested in Stewart. The Ravens insisted they would not pursue Stewart, but now seem to be one of three that Stewart feels he may have a chance to start and win.

The Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers are also reported to be high on the Kordell bandwagon. Six teams are reported to have contacted Stewarts agent.

Leaves a winner
Jim Miller concludes his five-year span with the Bears having completed 565 of 965 passes for 5,867 yards, 34 touchdowns, 26 interceptions and the third-highest quarterback rating in team history (75.2). The nine-year veteran led the Bears to as 15-11 record as a starter during the last four seasons.

Originally signed by Chicago for the final four games of the 1998 season, Miller holds two of the Bears' top eight passing performances (fourth with 422 yards vs Min; eightth 357 yards at SD), both recorded in 1999. His success as the Bears' starting quarterback ended prematurely in three of his four full years with the team, closing seasons on injured reserve twice (2000, 2002) and on the NFL's suspension list once (1999).

End of an era
James "Big Cat" Williams played 12 seasons for Chicago, starting the past nine years at right offensive tackle after originally being signed as an undrafted defensive lineman by the Bears in 1991. He'll turn 35 in March and was scheduled to make $1.9 million next season.

Williams became an institution on the Bears offensive line. He started every game for Chicago in 2002, extending his team-high streak of consecutive starts to 134 and consecutive regular season games played to 144. He finishes his Bears career with 166 regular season games played and 143 starts.

Healing nicely
Marc Colombo suffered a gruesome knee injury against the Dolphins on Dec. 9, but there is a chance the tackle could be ready for the post draft minicamp.

"My knee is coming along great," Colombo said. "I don't know if they'll want to push it, but I'm ready whenever."

On the mend
When Rex Tucker dislocated his ankle against the Packers on Oct. 7 the injury was feared to be career-threatening, but four and a half months later he's up and running. Tucker said there is a chance he could participate in the team's post draft minicamp.

"It's just a matter of getting on it and pushing it to the level it takes to play football," Tucker said.


Lions re-sign veteran QB

Just hours after releasing quarterback Ty Detmer, the Detroit Lions quickly re-signed the veteran to a more cap-friendly, $750,000 contract. The new contract will open up another $450,000 for Detroit to work with in free agency.

Porcher extends contract
The Lions re-upped with defensive end Robert Porcher, adding another year to his contract and lowering his base salary and making it more friendly to the cap. The extension means Porcher's deal runs through 2005, which the veteran from South Carolina State says will likely be his last year as a pro.

"I really just focus in on this season," said the veteran Porcher when asked if 2005 would be his last season. "I'm one of those guys, I like to focus on the task at hand. Now after this year, who knows."

Lions likely to come calling
CB Tyrone Williams, who is expected to be one of the few experienced quality corner's available this off-season, can expect to be courted by division-rival Detroit. The Lions defense is weakest on the corners, and the team is very familiar with Williams.

Officially gone
In a move speculated to happens for several months, WR Germane Crowell was officially cut Tuesday.

Return specialist Desmond Howard was cut Tuesday as the team continues its attempts to clear room under the salary cap. Howard missed the final seven games of last season with a neck injury.

Sees potential in Lions
As it stands right now, conventional wisdom has Charlie Rogers going to Detroit with the second pick in the draft. Rogers was at Ford Field watching when Joey Harrington made his first pro start last year. "I feel like he did great, the way he jumped into the fire," Rogers told the Detroit News at the NFL's combine. "He jumped in quick, early. I feel like he handled himself real good. His future's going to be bright. He's a great guy. He's got a good personality."


Hunt, Packers agree to deal

Defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt and the Green Bay Packers Friday agreed to a six-year, $25.1 million contract, according to As part of the deal, Hunt, a fifth-year pro, received a $6 million signing bonus.

QB could provide salary cap relief
The Green Bay Packers may turn Brett Favre's $1.6 million roster bonus into a signing bonus, which would clear much-needed salary cap space for the Green Bay Packers. Turning it into a signing bonus allows the Packers to prorate it over the length of Favre's contract (about eight years) for a cap savings of $1.4 million.

Bonus deadline pushed back
In an effort to allow more time for a trade, the agent for wide receiver Terry Glenn and the Green Bay Packers agreed Thursday to delay his $500,000 roster bonus until March 4. The Packers have recently given Jimmy Gould, the agent for Glenn, the green light to seek a trade.

The Packers will likely release Glenn before the March 4 deadline if a trade with another team is not completed. Glenn's base salary for 2003 is $1.5 million.

Drawing attention from many teams
Vonnie Holliday ranks high among players who became free agents Friday. The defensive lineman was ranked as the fourth best unrestricted free agent available by The Sporting News.

With the Packers unlikely to sign Holliday because of salary cap restrictions, there are many teams that probably will pursue the sixth-year pro. They include: Arizona, Buffalo, Denver, New York Giants, Philadelphia and Minnesota.

Ranked as second best restricted free agent
Linebacker Na'il Diggs is ranked as the second best restricted free agent, according to The web site rated the top 13 players who are scheduled to become restricted free agents on Friday.

Green Bay defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila was listed as the top restricted free agent and should get a tender that would require a team to give the Packers two first-round picks.

Diggs is expected to receive a higher tender from the Packers. He was drafted by Green Bay in the fourth round in 2000 and has started since his rookie season. He had 84 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble last year.

Rehab going well
OT Mark Tauscher had reconstructive surgery Oct. 11 to repair two torn ligaments and trim meniscus cartilage in his left knee. His rehabilitation has gone well, and the Packers expect him to participate in training camp, albeit on a limited basis. "There's no assurance that Tausch is going to come all the way back, either," Beightol said. "That's a serious injury."

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