Psst. Shhh. Psst. Shhh.
Midway through the Bears lunch at training camp player interviews turned into reporters whispering. "Michael Vick was in Chicago..." and then the voices lowered not quite loud enough for any competing reporters to hear.
Word spread quick.
Reaction by Bears personnel told you right away Vick was not in town to meet with the Bears.
"Great move by the Packers!" smiled one coach. Green Bay coincidentally had the day off which fueled the fire they may have asked to meet Vick in the windy city.
"No way! I'd be shocked" one member of the Bears front office told me. Though they admit it was talked about like many scenarios of free agents. But signing a guy who served 18 months in prison on federal dog charges, doesn't exactly fit the image of a family owned franchise like the Bears.
Indeed Vick was making a charity appearance for the Humane Society, meeting with inner city youth in Englewood. His message? Don't get lured into dogfighting.
Jay Cutler, like most NFL players, have their own message of support for Vick. Though if you think Cutlermania in Bourbonnais is crazy, imagine what the circus would be like surrounding Vick?
"Mike's just trying to get back to being that player he was a few years ago..." Cutler explained, "but anyone who signs him will have to go through the Vick watch every day and the animal rights groups, its just tough."
Lovie Smith has always supported Vick getting another chance after serving his debt to society, and admits he has had conversations with good friend Tony Dungy who is acting as a consultant to Vick. "You don't want to know what we talk about ... I just know Tony stands behind Michael and that means quite a bit."
About the only Bear who shrugged off the Vick rumors was third string quarterback Brett Basanez who said "that's the NFL, it is what it is!"
Of course, who would want a backup quarterback who rushed for 1,000 yards his last season in the league?
BEARS TRAINING CAMP DIARY DAY 12:
* Lovie Smith doesn't watch a lot of TV outside of practice and game film. When told TMZ.com had video of Vick in Chicago, he replied "TMZ? What's that? ... I know as much about Michael Vick as you do."
* Day 12 of training camp was the last day in pads before the Bears take on the Bills in their preseason opener Saturday. Thursday will be shorts & shells.
* Tight End Greg Olsen sat out practice, but I saw him in the evening in Asst. Trainer Chris Hanks' car. No one was smiling.
* The Bears defensive secondary will face some big time receivers this season, so to see Charles Tillman, Zackary Bowman, Danieal Manning (re-injured his hamstring in Tuesday night's practice) and then the other starting safety Kevin Payne leave the field (only to return) must put a scare into the Bears defensive coordinator? "We like our depth" Lovie Smith countered, adding especially at safety where rookie Al Afalava is making quite an impression in training camp. Still the inexperience and lack of leadership is alarming.
* Rookie DT Jarron Gilbert has the famous video of jumping out of a pool standing up says he has no plans for any new "tricks" on the web. Though we did hear he could stand in a doorway and reach down and touch the bottom of the door frame while touching the top of the door frame -- at the same time! So we put him to the test. He came close, unfortunately the doors to the cafeteria were 10 feet tall. What size door frame can he do? "8 feet two inches" he smirked, "that's my wingspan."
* Two years ago Lance Briggs was surrounded by reporters every day as the "Briggs contract watch" took over training camp. This year the WILL Linebacker is lying low. "Do you guys remember me?" he joked, "I mean hello, I have to find you guys to ask how you're doing!" Briggs said the defense's intensity is back starting with excitement over the defensive line. As for having Bob Babich back in the linebackers meeting rooms as their position coach again, he laughed, "it's like the uncle who finally leaves, you're like Yea! Then he comes back and you're like 'oh'."
* The athleticism of Jamar Williams and Pisa Tinoisamoa has caught up to former starting SAM linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer who now finds himself out of the rotation at Strongside, but the backup in the middle. It may be premature to think his days are numbered with the Bears "he has not fallen out of favor, we are very comfortable with him backing up Brian." One source said. Besides the consensus is the Vanderbilt graduate who also is the team's player rep is where he should be at MIKE.
* speaking of the Roster, Jay Cutler was asked if he would have input to the roster moves. He answered with a resounding "yes! I have to throw to them" he said. So even if coaches didn't want to know he will speak up. Lovie Smith is known to consult his star players on the team anyway to make sure everyone on the roster fits into the locker room, too.