Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher retired on Wednesday. It's unclear if Urlacher received any serious interest from teams as a free agent this offseason, but after 13 years in the NFL and eight Pro Bowl appearances, he's had an impressive career. SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell had a great piece on what Urlacher meant to the Bears, and it's worth a read.
The other big news on Wednesday was the injury to San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree. He tore his Achilles and should miss at least six months, which is a significant amount of time for a team somewhat thin at the position. In good news, Crabtree has already had his surgery and is on the road to recovery. Coming back in November seems to be a possibility, as noted by Niners Nation:
I spoke with socalisteph given her medical knowledge, and she said such surgery often happens as much as a week after the injury so swelling can go down. In this case, a quick surgery would seem to mean swelling is not an issue. More importantly, the quick surgery would hopefully mean the 49ers are somewhat optimistic about Crabtree's potential return during the season. It doesn't guarantee a return, but if there is a chance and a quick surgery will not create further risk, why not do it?
With teams getting their OTAs underway, there's plenty happening around league. One significant piece of news was the absence of Detroit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure from team drills. Leshoure was held out of team drills for injury concerns, though there's not any information on what the injury was specifically. He missed his entire rookie season with injury and finally got some playing time last year, but more concerns cannot be a good thing, especially given that he'll be competing with Reggie Bush for carries this season.
Another significant absence on Wednesday: New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. While he's recovering from injury, the Giants, including head coach Tom Coughlin, expected Nicks to be present and working out, possibly on his own, but Nicks no-showed and apparently didn't give the team any notice or reason. This is obviously not a good sign. As noted by Big Blue View, it's a confusing situation:
There is a question as to how much Nicks would have done Wednesday as he is still rehabbing from offseason knee surgery. Still, an unexplained no-show when he was at a charity event Tuesday night in New York City saying he was "willing to take the role of leader" is not a good beginning. Quarterback Eli Manning was also perplexed, saying he "had no reason" to think Nicks would not be in attendance.
There were two other notable absences on Wednesday. The first was linebacker Brandon Spikes, who might be burning bridges with the Patriots by not attending. Spikes is in a contract year and wants a contract extension, but he could be putting himself out of the running for that with this move.
The other absence was Baltimore Ravens linebacker Arthur Brown. He missed OTAs and will miss further team activities for the next 4-6 weeks as he's recovering from sports hernia surgery. It's significant because he's a rookie, though he's still expected to start at inside linebacker in place of the recently-retired Ray Lewis.