Around the NFC South

December, 12, 2011
12/12/11
4:45
PM ET
Time for a run through the Monday afternoon headlines from around the NFC South.

Falcons coach Mike Smith returned to Atlanta early this morning after being admitted to a Charlotte hospital following Sunday’s victory against Carolina. Smith was expected to take part in Monday afternoon meetings and the Falcons will have a walkthrough practice Monday night as they prepare for Thursday night’s game with Jacksonville.

New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham said he played through back spasms in Sunday’s victory against Tennessee.

New Orleans strong safety Roman Harper wasn’t available to comment on claims by the Titans that he’s a dirty player. But free safety Malcolm Jenkins said being labeled as a dirty player is a sign of respect.

Carolina kicker Olindo Mare missed a short field-goal attempt when Sunday’s game was on the line against Atlanta. Coach Ron Rivera said he’ll meet with general manager Marty Hurney to discuss the possibility of working out other kickers. Mare got big money when the Panthers signed him as a free agent. Where have you gone John Kasay? Oh, that’s right. Kasay is in New Orleans, where he’s kicking very well.

Tampa Bay left tackle Donald Penn didn’t have a great game at Jacksonville. Next, he has to face DeMarcus Ware, who is second in the league with 15 sacks, when the Buccaneers host the Cowboys on Saturday night.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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