NFL Nation: James 'Shack' Harris
After introducing James "Shack" Harris as his new senior personnel executive, Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew made one thing clear: The Lions don't plan to lose placekicker Jason Hanson.
Hanson, a pending free agent, has been discussing a multi-year contract extension with the Lions this week. Mayhew told Detroit-area reporters that if the discussions don't lead to an agreement, the Lions will place the franchise tag on him. That move would come no later than Feb. 19.
Here's what Mayhew said, according to John Niyo of the Detroit News:
"I think we'll get something done prior to that. If we don't, we'll franchise Jason. ... It's Jason Hanson, and we appreciate everything he's done for us. And we're trying to work out a long-term deal with him."
The franchise figure for placekickers this season is $2.48 million. Mayhew also confirmed negotiations with two other pending free agents: Guard Stephen Peterman and fullback Moran Norris. He said discussions about the quarterback position -- where Daunte Culpepper and Jon Kitna are both due roster bonuses at the end of this month -- remain underway.
Continuing around the NFC North on a Friday morning:
- Mayhew on Harris' hiring: "There were any number of yes-men available, and we didn't pick any of those guys." Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press reports.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders if the Bears prefer the 2010 class of college quarterbacks.
- Here's a line from a Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial on quarterback Brett Favre's retirement: "But Green Bay and the Packers were strong before Brett. And we are convinced both will remain strong in the future."
- Check out this musical tribute to Favre from a Packers fan. It was produced last year but remains relevant.
- Let's just say Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune isn't impressed with the Vikings' new get-tough approach on its stadium issue.
One NFC North alumnus (guard Randall McDaniel) got into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday while another (receiver Cris Carter) absorbed a significant snub. Here's another disappointment that didn't get quite as much attention on Sunday: Defensive end Richard Dent, who was turned away for the fifth consecutive year.
Dent finished his career with 137.5 sacks, which at the time ranked third in NFL history. He made it past the first round of cuts Saturday, an advance that Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times considers an important milestone. But Dent, in an interview with David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune, seemed to take the news pretty hard.
"I don't feel much at all," Dent said. "I'm just numb to the situation. I really don't have much to say."
Dent has lost out to four other pass-rushers in the past two years: Fred Dean, Andre Tippett, Bruce Smith and Derrick Thomas.
Continuing around the NFC North on Super Bowl Sunday:
- Minnesota has approached Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer for help in getting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson involved in a mixed martial arts program. But Jackson doesn't seem too interested. Asked by Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Jackson said: "Nah. I'm not planning on it."
- Detroit was focusing its personnel search on former Jacksonville executive James "Shack" Harris late last week, and now it seems likely that Harris is the Lions' choice. Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press confirms the hire.
- Former Lions offensive lineman Mike Utley, paralyzed during a 1991 game, was a guest of Pittsburgh executive Kevin Colbert at the Steelers' practice Saturday. Colbert worked for the Lions front office earlier in his career.
1:00 PM ET Tampa Bay Cleveland 1:00 PM ET Arizona Dallas 1:00 PM ET Philadelphia Houston 1:00 PM ET New York Kansas City 1:00 PM ET Jacksonville Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET San Diego Miami 1:00 PM ET Washington Minnesota 4:05 PM ET St. Louis San Francisco 4:25 PM ET Denver New England 4:25 PM ET Oakland Seattle 8:30 PM ET Baltimore Pittsburgh