1) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is set to meet with the NFL this week to discuss reinstatement after missing most of last season to suspension. Even at 30 years old, Peterson is probably one of the best backs in the game, but I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble for Minnesota to bring him back once reinstated.
There will no doubt be a media circus once he returns, there will certainly be protesters at games and he's expressed a desire to play elsewhere.
The Vikings are a relatively young team with a 2nd year head coach and a 2nd year quarterback, adding a potential distraction to a team on the rise could be a recipe for disaster.
2) The NFL will have their first full time female referee this year when Sarah Thomas starts working games after officiating in the college ranks since 2007. Thomas has been preparing for the NFL job for years, joining the NFL's Officiating Development Program, working a preseason game and working training camp practices.
This isn't some publicity stunt, it's the NFL trying to find the very best to officiate their games.
3) Making bold predictions is nothing new for Rex Ryan. As head coach of the New York Jets for six seasons, he seemed to make a braggadocious guarantee every year. Now that he's moved on to the Buffalo Bills, it's good to see his confidence isn't waning.
Here's Ryan's latest quote that he dropped at today as Buffalo began their voluntary off season workout program.
"I expect to win. I expect to win big. I expect to do that right now."
Never change Rex...
4) Speaking of the off season workout program, since the Bills have a new coaching regime in place, they are allowed to get started this week. The Bills are one of three teams to get going today (Falcons, Jets, Bills) with another two starting tomorrow (Raiders, 49ers).
In case you're wondering why the first group of 5 teams are starting a full two weeks ahead of everyone else, it's because even though the NFL's CBA allows new coaching regimes to begin before those with returning coaches, each team is still only allowed a nine week off season program. Besides starting early, the other perk new staffs receive is an extra voluntary mini-camp.
The Chicago Bears currently have 65 players on their roster, so don't be surprised if we see a few more veteran minimum add-ons before next Monday's 'Phase 1' kicks off.
If you missed the Bears off season schedule you can find it here.
5) Less than a year after taking Johnny Manziel in the 1st round of the NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns appear ready to move on from the former Heisman Trophy winner. Manziel should be out of rehab soon and the dedication and maturity he shows will go a long way towards Cleveland's desire to draft another quarterback.
When it comes to the NFL Draft, I think we'll see the player with the sure fire 1st round potential not fall much further than initial projections, while the 2nd round prospect might take a tumble.
7) Danny Kelly, Editor In Chief at Field Gulls and columnist at SB Nation, recently looked at the 2010 NFL Draft and explained why it was the most important draft in recent history. He looks at some of the big winners of that draft and how their selections helped shape the last 5 years.
Kelly's article made me recall the horrendous draft that the Chicago Bears had that year.
3rd Round - Major Wright, S, Florida
4th Round - Corey Wootton, DE, Northwestern
5th Round - Joshua Moore, DB, Kansas State
6th Round - Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan
7th Round - J'Marcus Webb, T, West Texas A&M
7th Round (supplemental) - Harvey Unga, RB, BYU
Only two of this draft class are even employed by an NFL team right now.
The Bears didn't have a 1st rounder in 2010 because of the Jay Cutler trade and they shipped their 2nd rounder to the Buccaneers for defensive end Gaines Adams.
We had a writer back in 2012 that looked at this Bears' draft in detail, including players the Bears could have taken. The biggest oof-moment for me came in the 2nd round because the Patriots eventually ended up picking in the Bears 2nd round slot that draft and they took All-Everything tight end Rob Gronkowski.
8) Speaking of bad drafts, CBS Sports looked at each team's worst number one draft pick since 1990 and as a Bears fan, I had to cringe. They listed a worst-of for each team plus a few notables and no team had a bigger collection of busts than did the Bears.
David Terrell, WR, 8th, 2001
It took the Bears a decade to recover from drafting David Terrell and finally find a quality wide receiver. Curtis Enis warrants consideration but he dealt with injuries. Terrell totaled 1,602 yards in his career with the Bears.
Michael Haynes, DE, 14th, 2003
Gabe Carimi, OL, 29th, 2011
Stan Thomas, T, 22nd, 1991
Rashan Salaam, RB, 21st, 1995
Curtis Ennis, RB, 5th, 1998
Cade McCown, QB, 12th, 1999
Even though the Bears had 7 players receive mention, at least they didn't have three players tie for the worst pick like the Detroit Lions did with their triumvirate of top 10 terrible wide out picks.
Charles Rodgers, WR, 2nd, 2003
Roy Williams, WR, 7th, 2004
Mike Williams, WR, 10th, 2005
Pick a Matt Millen wideout. Any old Matt Millen wideout will do. He used top-10 picks on Charles Rodgers (2nd, 2003), Roy Williams (7th, 2004) and Mike Williams (10th, 2005) in back-to-back-to-back years. Thankfully he had the courage to draft Calvin Johnson in 2008. Rodgers was the worst of a bad trio. And all of this somehow makes us forget Millen drafting Joey Harrington with the third pick in 2002.
I guess if it takes three strikes before hitting a home run and drafting an All Pro wide receiver, that's not too bad.
9) I'm sure by now you've read or heard about the Jay Cutler autographed football that was up for auction that no one bid on. The media ran with the story because it fit the narrative that Cutler is an unlikeable ass that Chicago fans are fed up with. That may be true, but having an item go unwanted at a charity auction is nothing new.
Having a sports related item go unwanted at a charity auction, when the charity doesn't exactly cater to a sports crowd is really no surprise.
The white, autographed football was one of several items auctioned on the (Anti-Cruelty) Society's behalf at the Chosen Man's Best Friend and Factor Felines fashion show and charity event at Bloomingdale's on North Michigan Avenue. Most of the other items weren't sports-related -- theater tickets and spa treatments, for example.
Having lived most of my life in northern Illinois and currently residing in southern Wisconsin, I've attended charity benefits where Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks, Bulls, Bears, Fire, Sky, Wolves, Packers, Bucks and Brewers memorabilia and/or tickets were left on the auction table. I've seen items have the reserve never met, causing the host to get on the microphone and push the items for well below asking price.
This Cutler autographed football story, while great click bait and awesome for making memes, isn't really that much of a story.
10) In the latest mock draft from SB Nation's Dan Kadar, he's giving each team options in the first round, here's his take on the Chicago Bears selection.
7. Chicago Bears: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
The Bears used free agency to fill big needs at linebacker, safety and cornerback, but the defensive transformation isn't complete. Jeremiah Ratliff will be 34 at the start of the season, and the Bears could use another lineman. Shelton could come in and be a good nose tackle, but he's not just a space eater. He's an active three-down player who could leave a player like Ego Ferguson staying at end, where he'll be a better player.
Options: Amari Cooper (WR), Kevin White (WR)
While I wouldn't be devastated if GM Ryan Pace went with the big NT from Washington, I can't help but feel that Amari Cooper is the better football player.
Both are the consensus tops at their respective positions, but Cooper feels more of a "can't miss" type of prospect.
If the real draft falls like Kadar predicts, whom would you like to see the Bears take?
What are some other NFL Thoughts that have been on your mind lately?