We're Black and Blue All Over:
It was almost an afterthought amid discussion of quarterback Jay Cutler's new weapons, the weight loss of receiver Johnny Knox and the configuration of the offensive line. But we might as well acknowledge it: Newcomer Michael Bush was the Chicago Bears' first-team tailback during Wednesday's organized team activity as starter Matt Forte stays away from the facility in a contract dispute.
Forte has yet to sign his $7.7 million franchise tag while pushing for a long-term extension. If there is an end in sight to those negotiations, it hasn't been reported publicly. While no one thinks Forte will elect to miss regular-season games, it isn't clear if he'll report for any part of the Bears' offseason program or training camp.
Bush, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com: "Nobody has ever brought up Forte's name or wished he was here or anything to make me feel uncomfortable. But me being me, [I think] Forte needs to come on out so we can get it going. But I know he's got to take care of himself and his family as well."
To be continued.
Now for our morning spin around the division:
The Bears signed free-agent defensive tackle Nate Collins to a one-year deal, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune on Knox: "This doesn't look like a man who will be taking the field in the foreseeable future to participate in a collision sport played against hulking behemoths and athletic freaks."
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune raises an interesting question: Should the Bears sign Cutler to a contract extension ahead of Forte?
Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson and some of his teammates tried their hand at bocce ball Wednesday, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
Lions place-kicker Jason Hanson isn't sure how long he plans to play, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz isn't ready to address the status of receiver Titus Young, according to Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
Here's a Q&A with Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson by Rob Reischel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
It's clear the Packers want to beef up their defensive front, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The Packers have apparently put their playbooks on iPads, according to Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press speaks with new Minnesota Vikings place-kicker Blair Walsh.
Opponents of the Vikings' stadium bill are still working to defeat it, according to Eric Roper of the Star Tribune.