We're Black and Blue All Over:
Now that we've dissected Brian Urlacher's retirement and assessed his chances at enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, we should ask the next question: Will the Bears retire his No. 54?
That issue might be more complicated than the Hall of Fame. It would seem a natural next step, but the Bears already have 13 numbers retired in a sport where 90 players are taken to training camp and 53 make the final roster. It's worth noting that the Bears never retired the No. 50 of Hall of Fame middle linebacker Mike Singletary and actually put it back into circulation this spring when they signed free-agent linebacker James Anderson.
I appreciate all of you bearing with us Wednesday after Urlacher's announcement. We will now return to regularly scheduled May football coverage, starting with our morning tour around the division after a crazy-busy day:
Michael Wilbon of ESPNChicago.com thinks the Bears will be able to replace Urlacher even though they should have signed him for one more season: "If [Dick] Butkus can beget Singletary and he can beget Urlacher, presumptuous as it seems to say, the next great Chicago linebacker is out there, somewhere, waiting for the privilege to be accepted into the rarest of football fraternities."
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune: "For a guy who came from tiny Lovington, N.M., Urlacher ideally fit an image immediately embraced by our big, blue-collar town. The face of the Bears franchise should feature a square jaw. Urlacher looked like a meat packer and worked as if he signed a time card instead of autographs. From his first day as a Bear to his last, Urlacher never considered himself special, which perhaps was why he became that way. No athlete since Michael Jordan symbolized Chicago more than Urlacher."
Urlacher maintained the Bears' tradition of middle linebackers, writes Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson has resumed practicing, two months ahead of schedule, after recovering from a broken leg. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News has more.
The Lions need Ndamukong Sun and Nick Fairley to step up as leaders, writes John Niyo of the News.
The Lions' development of defensive end Willie Young and offensive lineman Jason Fox will be telling, writes Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press.
Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew, via Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com: "I definitely took a step back last year. Kind of dinged up a little bit. Being in there, you're still expected to make the plays. Personally, I think I took a step back last year. It's time to get back to it, to what we had built a year before, just being a better player."
In case you missed it, Lions safety Louis Delmas isn't participating in organized team activities.
Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly has completed a court-ordered drug treatment program and is now free to begin working out with the team, according to Chris Roth of WBAY-Ch. 2.
Packers cornerback Tramon Williams has stepped up as the leader of the team's secondary, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told the Jim Rome radio show that he hopes the team retires Brett Favre's No. 4 before he goes into the Hall of Fame. Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette has the quotes.
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said there has been no discussions about a contract extension, according to Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune. Allen is entering the final year of his deal.
The Vikings won't have Urlacher as their middle linebacker this season, notes Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.