Long-time Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher decided to call it quits after 13 seasons in the NFL. He was an unrestricted free agent and after some time without being signed, he decided to hang up the shoulder pads. Urlacher released the following statement:
"After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire. Although I could continue playing, I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that's up to my standards. When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after a 13 year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear.
"I want to thank all of the people in my life that helped me along the way. I will miss my teammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I'm proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss the game, but I leave it with no regrets."
Titans quarterback Jake Locker says he feels healthy and his shoulder feels "normal." Locker injured his non-throwing shoulder last season, which caused quite a lot of discomfort throughout the season and offseason. The Titans have high hopes for locker, who is entering his third year.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is open to having more games played across the pond in London. Both games played in London in 2012 sold out, and Goodell believes the NFL could possibly play three games in Great Britain in the coming seasons.
Steelers future Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu has had trouble staying on the field and staying healthy lately. That could be the reason he has decided to alter his rehab procedure. Polamalu said he has done quite a few things differently this offseason when it comes to rehab and there are reports that he showed up to OTAs with a much more slender physique.
As long as he keeps working on that balky calf, and he can be on the field for more than 400 snaps this season, it makes no difference whether he attends OTAs.
San Francisco 49ers pass rusher Aldon Smith is still working on returning to practice after an offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. Smith was a big reason the 49ers defense helped take the team to the Super Bowl after the 2012 regular season and the earlier he gets back on the field, the better the Niners' defense will be.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is expected to receive a $100 million extension after Joe Flacco and Tony Romo each received that kind of money from their teams. Ryan has been fantastic for the Falcons since taking over in 2008. He has already thrown for about 19,000 yards and for 127 touchdowns.
The Falcons have a little time to get this done, obviously. For cap purposes, it would be nice if it was done shortly before or after the June 1 date for them to clear Tyson Clabo's sizeable hit. The urgency here comes from the importance of getting Ryan locked up to a new long-term deal, since he's the face of the franchise and one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Ensuring a long future with the Falcons is more or less common sense.
Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn is recovering well from an ACL tear suffered in Week 3 of the 2012 season, according to reports. Clayborn had a promising rookie season in which he recorded 7.5 sacks, and has said his goal is to come back stronger than he was before his injury.
Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith's search for a new agent is over after he decided to sign with rapper Jay-Z's agency, Roc Nation. Smith fired his former agent after the 2013 NFL Draft, in which he surprising slid to the second round after there were rumors he could go with the No. 1 overall pick. Other New York athletes signed with Roc Nation include Victor Cruz and Robinson Cano.
When was the last time a player has gone from being slammed by the media to being praised so constantly, as is happening with Smith? A few weeks ago, everyone and their mother was jumping on Smith and telling stories about how he was the biggest diva since Keyshawn Johnson, and now the media is constantly talking about how pretty his throws are and how down-to-earth he seems. Oh well. Now Smith has the King of Cool in his corner, and if he can match it with good play on the field...
Niners wide receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles on Wednesday at the team's practice, according to reports. It's possible that Crabtree's injury will require season-ending surgery, which would be a shame considering he's coming off a breakout year in which the team went to the Super Bowl.
Ravens rookie linebacker Arthur Brown will miss the first four to six weeks of the season after a sports hernia surgery. He was expected to be one of the possible replacements for future hall of fame linebacker Ray Lewis, who retired following the Ravens Super Bowl victory.
Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was a no show at the team's OTAs on Wednesday. Fellow wide out Victor Cruz, who's in the middle of a contract dispute, was expected not to show, but Nicks, who was reportedly in Manhattan Tuesday night, was expected to be there. Head coach Tom Coughlin was unsure why he wasn't.
Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes is expected to miss all of the team's minicamp, according to reports. He's still recovering from a Lisfranc injury that landed him on injured reserve in 2012. With the uncertainty revolving around the Jets quarterback situation, he could return to catch passes from a passer he's never worked with.
Lions running back Mikel Leshoure has been held out of team activities during practice while he recovers from some unknown injuries. Leshoure led the Lions' 23rd-ranked rushing attack in 2012 and will likely split carries with recently signed ball carrier Reggie Bush. Bush is likely to get the largest share of the carries, though.