NFC North: Nick Urban
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
Wrapping up the first round of cuts in the NFC North, Minnesota released four players Tuesday to comply with the NFL’s mandate for 75-man rosters. Detroit, Green Bay and Chicago made their announcements earlier this week.
The Vikings’ four cuts were: Place-kicker Taylor Mehlhaff, defensive back Derrick Roberson, running back Antone Smith and guard Nick Urban.
You might recall Urban from this ESPN interview, during which he describes his day job at Target.
NFL teams must cut their rosters to 53 players by Saturday.
In late February, the Orlando Sentinel's Chris Harry pulled up a chair with retired quarterback Brett Favre and shot the breeze for 10 minutes. Inevitably, the subject of returning to the playing field came up. Here's what Favre said then, according to a story published Tuesday:
"I'm coming off a torn bicep tendon, but I still think I can throw. It hurt toward the end of the year, but I still think in my mind I can play. It's there. ... But soon to be 40? I just don't know if it's worth a try. But there will be a day, I'm sure, when I feel like I could play 291 more [games]."
Amazingly, those sentiments already represented a departure from what Favre said earlier in the month upon announcing his retirement -- that the tendon needed surgery in order to heal and that he wasn't interested in the procedure. If you're into reading between the lines, you can see that Favre was already moving away from his steadfast plan to retire just weeks after his decision.
Two months later, how much further has Favre traveled down that path? He texted ESPN's Trent Dilfer on Monday to respond to a question about whether he planned to play in 2009. The response: "NO." I suppose it would have been superfluous to add "FOR NOW."
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune tells the story of how Nick Urban, an offensive tackle from Division II Winona State, ended up signing with Minnesota.
- Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette breaks down the Packers' three-way punting battle between Adam Graessle, Jeremy Kapinos and Durant Brooks.
- Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provides some insight into why the Packers released defensive end/linebacker Jason Hunter. It appears Hunter was stuck in between the two positions in the Packers' new scheme.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times checks in with former Bears quarterback Kyle Orton in Denver. Orton: ''My entire goal, and the only way I went about it, was to win football games. For the most part, I did a pretty good job of that. I don't know [if he ever got credit for being 21-12 as a starter]. I'm proud of what I did back there. Right now, I'm just focused on the future. It's going to be the start to the second half of my career."
- Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago provides some insight into how new Bears defensive line coach Rod Marinelli is teaching his players.
- Former Bears linebacker Jim Schwantz was sworn in Monday as the mayor of the Chicago suburb of Palatine. Schwantz played for the Bears from 1992-98.
- Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford and his family have gotten advice from Archie Manning, the father of current NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning. Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach put the two families in touch with one another, according to John Niyo of the Detroit News.
- The Lions are the clear frontrunners for free-agent linebacker Larry Foote, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.