<
>

Black and Blue all over: Barnett practices

8/18/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Got in a bit later than planned Monday night, and so I'm just getting around to updating you on the happenings around the NFC North. We start with a newsy day in Green Bay, where linebacker Nick Barnett practiced in full pads for the first time, defensive lineman Justin Harrell admitted he is worried his career is over and the coaching staff began splitting repetitions at right tackle.

Barnett participated in a limited capacity but wore full pads as his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament draws to a close. Backups Brandon Chillar and Desmond Bishop have practiced well in his absence, but Barnett said he has no concerns about losing his starting job, according to Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Barnett: "I feel like I'm a leader of this defense, and for me to be sitting here and talking about, 'I feel pressure in my spot,' it's a little -- I don't know, just out of order to me."

Harrell, meanwhile, said he is "most definitely" concerned that back spasms will force him to retire because they signal a reoccurrence of a back injury he has already had two surgeries for. "It's probably the worst week of my life," Harrell said. No decision had been made as of Monday.

Finally, second-year offensive lineman Breno Giacomini started getting work with the first team at right tackle, where Allen Barbre has been practicing. Barbre also got some first-team reps, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Giacomini has fully recovered from offseason ankle surgery and is an imposing figure at 6-foot-7.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Chicago coach Lovie Smith hinted that Charles Tillman and Zackary Bowman will be his starting cornerbacks when they get healthy, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. Neither Tillman (back) nor Bowman (hamstring) practiced Monday.

  • Bears receiver Devin Hester said he was initially offended by quarterback Jay Cutler's postgame comments about an interception Cutler threw Saturday in Buffalo. But the two were fine after discussing the issue, Biggs writes.

  • Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago writes that safety Danieal Manning (hamstring) might miss Saturday's preseason game against the New York Giants.

  • Detroit coach Jim Schwartz used the backflip of rookie Aaron Brown as a teaching point Monday, writes Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press. Officials called a 15-yard penalty on the play.

  • Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is happy with the progress of his team's quarterbacks, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.

  • Michael Rosenberg of the Free Press believes former Lions coach Rod Marinelli left behind a winning culture, if not a winning team.

  • The only person who matters in deciding whether Brett Favre returns to Minnesota is coach Brad Childress, writes Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.