Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
The Chicago Bears are hoping right tackle John Tait will reconsider his plans to retire and went to the length Tuesday of posting a story about his situation on the team's Web site. Here's the statement that Bears general manager Jerry Angelo provided:
"John informed us a few weeks ago that he was considering retirement. He has been a great player and representative of our team since joining us in 2004. We would like to have him back for another season, but certainly respect his decision if he chooses to retire."
This marks the team's first public statement on the issue since reports emerged last weekend. The Bears aren't exactly deep at the position; presumptive left tackle Chris Williams will be their only tackle on the roster when free agency begins. Tait's skills are declining, but he might provide a better option in 2009 than anyone the team could scrounge up on the free-agent market.
Expect the Bears to scout the right tackle position heavily when the annual scouting combine begins this week. Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times takes a look at the looming process.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Pending free agent quarterback Chris Simms didn't downplay the possibility of signing with the Bears in an interview with Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. Said Simms: "Who wouldn't be interested or thinking about the Chicago Bears?"
Get this: Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford went to the same high school as former Detroit quarterback Bobby Layne. Here's a feature on Stafford from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.
Minnesota special teams captain Heath Farwell, who missed the 2008 season because of a knee injury, plans to test the free-agent market, according to Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Vikings have attempted to re-sign him, but Farwell would like an opportunity to play linebacker as well as special teams.
Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sets up the combine with facts and figures.