We're Black and Blue All Over:
Hello there. In a master stroke of scheduling, I wrapped up my time away Thursday and am popping back on the blog on Friday. It'll take me some time to catch up and find out what people are mad at me for -- apparently my ballot in ESPN.com's latest Power Rankings didn't go over well -- but let's start back into routine right away.
We'll start with a pair of stories on new Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey, who has taken over the job from older brother Michael McCaskey. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune chronicles McCaskey's hard-working personality and reverence for the Bears' past. Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times describes McCaskey's everyman attitude and notes he drives a Honda Accord.
McCaskey, via Biggs: "Life is different. The game is evolving. The business is evolving. You can't be tied in to that kind of analysis. But it can be helpful. One of the things we talk about ... 'What would Dad have done? What would Grandpa have done?' I think if you had the opportunity to ask them, (they would say), 'Do the right thing.' "
You might not be interested in the life history of the latest McCaskey to run the Bears, but you should. Over time, an NFL franchise takes on the personality and vision (or lack thereof) of its owner. Future front office and coaching hires, financial decisions and franchise philosophy all flow from the top.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Bears safety Chris Harris doesn't believe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's assertion that ticket prices could decline after the lockout, notes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
During a visit to Miller Park, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said: "At some point, if this lockout persists, then there is no doubt we're going to get together." Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com has more.
The family of former Packers coach Vince Lombardi insists that his grave site has never been in a state of disrepair, it said in a letter to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch on the latest set of players-only workouts, which end Friday, via Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com: "You're not going to make a ton of progress and I don't know if the things we did this week and the things we did last month are going to have a direct effect on our wins and losses, but it doesn't hurt. And it shows the commitment of our guys. Like I said, I couldn't be happier with where the players are at right now.''
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is playing the dual role of coach/quarterback during these practices, writes Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News.
Lions receivers Derrick Williams and Bryant Johnson will compete for one roster spot, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin is planning to work with new quarterback Christian Ponder in the near future, Harvin said in a television interview via Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.