NFC North: Ted Cottrell
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Oh yeah. It feels like summer here in Green Bay, with high humidity and temperatures expected to approach 90 degrees. So what else would you want to do other than watch some football practice?
That's what I'll be doing twice Tuesday over at Lambeau Field, where the Packers' minicamp continues with two scheduled practices. We brought you up to date Monday on safety Nick Collins and defensive end Aaron Kampman, and Tuesday morning Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has this report: Receiver Greg Jennings said he and the Packers are close to an agreement on a contract extension.
Here is the key quote from Jennings, which he couched with an appropriately vague timetable:
"We've been working on some things. We're coming pretty close, as far as my understanding is, to some type of deal. But when I say close, we could still be far ... if that makes sense. But I think we're coming close. You just never know how long 'close' can take to actually closing the deal."
That jibes with everything that has been evident from afar this offseason: The Packers are making steady progress toward locking up their top business priority of the offseason. Jennings' contract expires in the spring of 2010, and the Packers want no part of having to compete for him on free agency or even applying their franchise tag on him.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette looks at the Packers' defensive line duo of Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji. I'll have more on Raji later this week.
- Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler said he spoke to Denver receiver Brandon Marshall about Marshall's desire to be traded from Denver, according to Marty O'Brien of the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press. Cutler, visiting a summer camp at William & Mary, said: "Just checking in on him and seeing how he's doing, because I went through a similar thing that he's going through."
- Teams with new coaches are allowed to hold an additional minicamp, so Detroit will open minicamp No. 2 Tuesday under coach Jim Schwartz. This camp will be about job competition, according to Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.
- Terry Foster of the Detroit News profiles new Lions linebacker Larry Foote, a Detroit native. "Foote returns home with a dual mission. He wants to help his hometown team become good again and he wants to improve his hometown by reshaping the minds of young people who too often fall victim to the streets."
- Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press profiles former Minnesota defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who is the new head coach of the UFL's New York franchise.
Admit it. You were virtually joining me Monday night by flipping between "Dancing with the Stars" (We call it DWTS on Disney-owned ABC!), "2001: A Space Odyssey" on the Encore Mystery Channel and that 1985 matchup between Chicago and Green Bay on the NFL Network.
I must say that the Packers' Jim Zorn era had totally passed from my consciousness. Took me multiple squints -- thank you, video degradation -- to realize that the left-handed quarterback wearing No. 18 was Zorn. I thought it was cool seeing Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier playing cornerback for the Bears in what was his last NFL season, but one part of the game stood out most prominently for me.
As you recall, William "The Refrigerator" Perry caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jim McMahon just before halftime, his first scoring reception. I vaguely remembered that play. What came next, however, I did not. Perry returned to the sidelines, joined the special teams huddle -- led by unofficial Bears assistant coach Jeff Fisher, who was on injured reserve at the time -- and trotted back onto the field to cover the kickoff.
That's something you don't see in today's game: A starting defensive tackle covering kickoffs, let alone one who participated in the previous offensive play. The Fridge got down the field, too, and was near the tackle. Just one example of how the game has changed over the years.
Oh, the Bears went on to defeat the Packers 16-10.
End fantastical digression. On with our morning march around the NFC North:
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times has the numbers on free-agent offensive lineman Frank Omiyale's contract. Omiyale will receive $6.3 million this season, almost half of the total value of the deal. That's a strong sign that the Bears consider him a starter at some position this season.
- Packers defensive back Jarrett Bush visited Tennessee on Monday and will meet with Baltimore officials on Wednesday, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Packers gave Bush the low tender as a restricted free agent, meaning they would get no compensation if he signs elsewhere.
- The Packers have yet to host linebacker Kevin Burnett on a visit, according to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- Even "The Simpsons" have taken a shot at Detroit's 0-16 season. Check out the video on the Detroit Free Press' Web site.
- The much-discussed visit of free-agent cornerback Karl Paymah to Minnesota is, alas, on hold, according to Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- The city of Walnut, Calif., is preparing a legal challenge to plans for building an NFL stadium in nearby Industry, according to the Pasadena Star-News. The Vikings are among a handful of teams that have been approached to play in the proposed facility.
- Former Vikings coach Dennis Green and former Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell are among the men expected to be head coaches in the new United Football League, according to Howard Balzer of The Sports XChange.