NFC North: Tim Spencer
The man who set an NFL record by starting 297 consecutive games is now a pitchman and investor in a pain cream that he has been using in retirement. Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has details of Favre's journey and an impromptu infomercial he launched into during a recent interview with SiriusXM radio.
The cream requires a prescription and does not appear to be FDA approved, according to the Journal Sentinel. The president of the company that produces it said it has no ingredients that are banned in the NFL but declined to provide an ingredient list.
Favre's sojourn into this realm will be interesting not only because of his own well-documented history with narcotics but also in the current NFL atmosphere of intense scrutiny on pain killers. It will be worth following.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- The signing of linebacker Desmond Bishop proves that not every move the Minnesota Vikings make is geared only to the long term. Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com explains.
- Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe reiterated that he believes he is "statistically the best punter the Vikings have had" during an appearance on the Dan Patrick radio show, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- The job to return kickoffs and punts for the Green Bay Packers is "wide open," writes Mike Spofford of Packers.com, but Jeremy Ross will get plenty of opportunities.
- Bill Bentley will compete for the Detroit Lions' nickel cornerback job assuming he is fully recovered from a shoulder injury, writes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
- Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press examines the career history of Lions cornerback Ron Bartell.
- Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune catches up with former Chicago Bears running backs coach Tim Spencer, whose late firing by the Bears left him unable to find a job this season.
- McClure also spoke with former Bears tight ends coach Mike DeBord, who is now an administrator at the University of Michigan.
Contracts for NFL assistants are almost always guaranteed, although the Bears are among the teams who might reduce their pay in the event of a lockout. Regardless, Tice was quoted on the Bears' website as saying: "I look forward to continuing the progress we made on the offensive line in 2010. Our guys are motivated and I am excited to get back to work with them."
The Titans wanted to interview Tice for their open offensive coordinator job and were serious about moving quickly. Less than 24 hours after the Bears denied their request for an interview, the Titans hired Chris Palmer for the job.
The team also announced contract extensions for three other assistant coaches: running backs coach Tim Spencer, linebackers coach Bob Babich and secondary coach Jon Hoke. The only change for the 2011 staff is the hiring of Mike Phair as the defensive line coach, replacing Eric Washington.
The big question is when the Bears will complete negotiations with coach Lovie Smith, whose current deal is set to expire after the 2011 season.
Discussion of Chicago's backfield is in full swing. In this interview on the team's Web site, running backs coach Tim Spencer suggests he wants tailback Matt Forte to increase his productivity in terms of yards per carry and yards per catch this season.
At the same time, Spencer said, it will be up to coaches to "watch him." I took that to mean the Bears plan to follow through on their plans to curb his playing time a bit after accounting for being on the field for a large majority of the Bears' snaps in 2008.
That number, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times, is 84 percent: Forte was on the field for 84 percent of the Bears' plays in 2009. Biggs suggests that number could go down and predicts a solid training camp battle for depth in the backfield.
Kevin Jones seems assured of the No. 2 spot behind Forte, but it's possible that Garrett Wolfe and Adrian Peterson will be fighting for one roster spot. The Bears' first training camp practice is 23 days away. Yee-haw.
Continuing around the NFC North on a quiet midweek morning:
- Jo-Ann Barnas of the Detroit Free Press covered the funeral of Lions director of security Ricky Sandoval, who died last week of pancreatic cancer. Former Lions coach Steve Mariucci gave the eulogy.
- Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com questions whether the Lions really plan to keep veteran Anthony Henry at cornerback or if he will move to safety.
- In a chat on the Web site of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Mike Vandermause casts doubt on the Packers' situation at backup quarterback. Vandermause: "If [Aaron] Rodgers goes down early in the season, I think the Packers would be hard-pressed to have a winning season with either [Matt] Flynn or [Brian] Brohm at QB."
- Yes, it's a slow period. But I still thought this was interesting. In a Presswire release from the Minnesota Chiropractic Association, Vikings linebacker Ben Leber discusses his lifelong visits to chiropractors. His mother was a chiropractor and he often received adjustments as a child.