NFC North: Marcus Fitzgerald
For those of you who are interested, here is the full list of the inaugural draft for the United Football League, which starts play in the fall and hopes to serve as something of a incubation league for players who wouldn't have made an NFL team but could provide midseason depth if needed.
A few NFC North-related highlights:
Former Minnesota coach Dennis Green, who now coaches the UFL's San Francisco franchise, selected Marshall receiver Marcus Fitzgerald, who had a tryout earlier this year with the Vikings. Fitzgerald is the younger brother of Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald, whom Green drafted when he was the coach of the Cardinals in 2004. Both Fitzgeralds grew up in the Twin Cities.
Green also drafted running back "Femi" Ayanbadejo, whom he once coached in Minnesota, as well as Harvard quarterback Liam O'Hagan -- a Twin Cities native who is the son of longtime coaching agent Gary O'Hagan.
Orlando drafted former Wisconsin and Minnesota quarterback Brooks Bollinger. It also selected safety Mike Doss, who spent 2007 with the Vikings, and former Vikings tight end Jermaine Wiggins. Former Green Bay defensive tackle Fred Bledsoe was also on Orlando's list.
Las Vegas grabbed safety Adam Archuleta, who played for Chicago in 2007, and former Lions receiver David Kircus.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman on his chances for being 100 percent by training camp after offseason shoulder surgery: ''I think so. I hope so. I keep my fingers crossed.'' Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times has the story.
- Officials from Lewis University in Romeoville are pitching the Bears about moving training camp to their campus, according to Joseph Ruzich of the Chicago Tribune.
- Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has an endorsement deal with Axe hair products, writes Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.
- Missed this personnel development earlier this week: Green Bay linebacker Spencer Havner was practicing as a two-way player during organized team activities last week. Havner was doubling as a tight end, writes Tom Fanning of Packers.com.
- Minnesota defensive end Ray Edwards continued his assault on the idea of a personal locker room for retired quarterback Brett Favre during multiple appearances Thursday on ESPN platforms. Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune traces Edwards' progress. Edwards also reiterated his support for incumbent quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
I'm guessing at least a few of the veterans on Detroit's roster sat up a little straighter Thursday after new coach Jim Schwartz released cornerback Travis Fisher, who by default was the Lions' No. 1 cornerback entering training camp. At least, Fisher thought he was.
Here's what he said a few weeks ago, according to John Niyo of the Detroit News:
"It's a situation for me, personally, to go into camp feeling like I'm the No. 1 guy."
Sorry, Travis. The Lions released him on the eve of their rookie minicamp, a bold move in the sense that they aren't really in position to shed talent. Whether you think Fisher was a talented cornerback or not, he probably belongs on an NFL team. You can't say that about every player whose name has resided on the Lions' roster in recent years.
Consider it a mild warning shot for a group of players who has no business being comfortable or making assumptions about its role on the team.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Schwartz said Thursday the team has made no decisions on its quarterback depth beyond the release of Drew Henson, according to Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com. Schwartz also acknowledged the team hosted veteran defensive lineman Kevin Carter on a visit, saying Carter could play defensive end on early downs and move to defensive tackle in obvious passing situations.
- The Lions promoted pro personnel director Sheldon White to a vice president's position and said they are reorganizing the geographical arrangement of their scouting department. Also, regional scout Mike Butler will not return, according to Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.
- Green Bay rookie defensive tackle B.J. Raji admitted Thursday that he once tested positive for marijuana while playing at Boston College. Here's what Raji said, according to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "I'm a man, that was a mistake I made in the past, which is the past."
- Raji and fellow first-round pick Clay Matthews are in the same spot as their veteran defensive teammates: Learning a new scheme. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
- Minnesota has invited Cole Konrad, a 315-pound former wrestler at the University of Minnesota, to its rookie camp this weekend on a tryout basis. Mark Craig of the Star Tribune has the story.
- Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune profiles Marcus Fitzgerald, the younger brother of Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald. Marcus, a receiver who sat out last year after tearing a hamstring muscle at the 2008 Marshall pro day, has also will get a tryout with the Vikings this weekend.
- Here is Chicago's full list of tryout players for its rookie camp this weekend, according to the team Web site.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times writes the Bears were planning to take Ohio safety Michael Mitchell in the fourth round of last weekend's draft -- not in the second round as Mitchell had indicated in interviews after Oakland selected him.
A couple of NFC North notes to take you through the evening:
- Detroit released tight end Michael Gaines on Wednesday, four days after drafting tight end Brandon Pettigrew. It's possible you could see a further thinning of the Lions' tight end group; Will Heller and Casey Fitzsimmons are among the tight ends that remain on the roster.
- Minnesota has invited the brother of Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald to its rookie camp this weekend on a tryout basis, according to Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Like his brother, Marcus Fitzgerald was a ball boy for the Vikings earlier this decade. The younger Fitzgerald went to Marshall as a running back but was switched to receiver.