Black and Blue all over: End of line for M. Brown?
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times pens a nice ode to safety Mike Brown, who might have played his last game in a Bears uniform.
Brown aggravated a calf injury in Monday night's 20-17 victory over Green Bay and isn't expected to play Sunday at Houston, Biggs reports. Brown played in 15 games this season, his most since 2003, but he is a pending free agent and might not be re-signed after nine injury-plagued seasons.
Smart and still a good hitter, Brown has endeared loyalty throughout the Bears locker room. Perhaps the most effusive praise came from linebacker Brian Urlacher:
''He's the best football player I have ever played with. He's the smartest guy I have ever been around on and off the field, a great teammate, a leader. He's who I consider our team leader."
Coach Lovie Smith is a big fan as well, and Smith might fight to bring back Brown in some capacity next season. But whether it's this offseason or the next, the Bears are going to have to find a permanent replacement soon for one of their most beloved players.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune pays tribute to Bears defensive back/kick returner Danieal Manning, who said: "I've always believed you need fanatical effort on special teams. I get great blocking and see seams, and I hit it."
- Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette wonders whether the Packers will bring back special teams coordinator Mike Stock. At 69, Stock said he wants to coach next season but added: "Quite awhile longer? I'm not so sure."
- Packers tailback Ryan Grant hasn't had a breakaway run since going 57 yards in the season-opener against Minnesota, notes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- The 15-month-old son of Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has been dealing with health issues for much of his life, writes Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. His son, known as T.J., had a pacemaker installed in the spring and was hospitalized briefly near Thanksgiving.
- Minnesota receiver Bernard Berrian had an MRI on his left ankle this week but there was no significant damage, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
- Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press looks at the Lions' woeful recent history in the state of Wisconsin.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press believes it's time for general manager Martin Mayhew to publicly state his football philosophy and where he plans to take the team.