Black and Blue all over: Hope, on a relative scale
This is as good as it gets in Detroit. No one, after the Lions' long history, can claim that hope springs eternal when training camp begins. But Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press comes as close as he reasonably can: "The Lions are doing things right," Rosenberg writes. "Now, that doesn't mean they're doing things well."
Fair enough. In other news:
- The Lions opened practice Wednesday by signing cornerback Leigh Bodden to a four-year contract extension. But they were missing second-round linebacker Jordon Dizon, whose contract talks were at an impasse.
- Lions running back Kevin Smith could be the steal of the draft, according to the Grand Rapids Free Press. (Smith might want to surrender that title. The last NFC North running back to claim it was Minnesota's Onterrio Smith, and that didn't work out too well).
- About 10,000 people showed up for the Green Bay Packers' annual shareholder meeting. Some approached general manager Ted Thompson to encourage him to re-think the team's position on quarterback Brett Favre, but the event was hardly a riot. "Families sometimes disagree," Thompson said.
- The quarterback derby between Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton is getting plenty of attention, but the Chicago Bears are monitoring the Chris Simms situation in Tampa Bay, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Bears cornerback Nate Vasher went through a long contract negotiation with the team but never held out. His advice to kick returner Devin Hester: "The most important thing is to play and things will take care of themselves. [Hester] might feel a little underappreciated. You have to be here, though."
- Constant discussion of the Favre story has taken attention away from the Vikings' offseason improvements, writes Mike McFeely of the Fargo Forum. They have their first practice of the summer Friday morning.