- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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With the Panthers and Saints on their bye weeks, it’s been a relatively quiet day in the NFC South. But let’s look at the headlines that have popped up around the division.
Let’s start with the totally expected. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers confirmed that Sunday’s game with the Kansas City Chiefs has not sold out. You know the drill -- the game can’t be shown on live television within 75 miles of Tampa.
Tampa Bay defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, who has been on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon, is eligible to begin practice as soon as next week. Coach Greg Schiano wouldn’t go into the exact plan for Bowers, but said he remains optimistic the defensive end will play this season. That would be a big boost for the Bucs, who recently lost starting defensive end Adrian Clayborn to a season-ending injury.
The Panthers filled center Ryan Kalil’s roster spot by signing center Thomas Austin. He spent part of last season with Houston and was on New England’s practice squad earlier this year. Geoff Hangartner, who had been playing right guard, will slide into Kalil’s starting job and the Panthers will decide between Garry Williams and Jeff Byers at right guard.
Atlanta outside linebacker Stephen Nicholas sat out Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury. But Nicholas was able to participate on a limited basis in Thursday’s session.