- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Time for an afternoon run through some news and notes from around the division:
Former Atlanta defensive end John Abraham reportedly told at least one of the teams he visited with as a free agent that he wants to play on 60 percent of the defensive downs. Abraham is 35. It’s nice that he still is so competitive. But Abraham is going to have to accept reality and lower his expectations, or else he’ll end up retired.
John Clayton has a column on how the draft class of 2009 has been underwhelming. That’s particularly true in the NFC South (although Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman has a chance to rescue things with a big season) and it might hold more true in Atlanta than anywhere. Defensive tackle Peria Jerry’s career has been a sad saga. I think this guy would have been a big-time player, but he tore up his knee in his second NFL game. He’s been reduced to being a role player and is heading into the final year of his contract -- assuming he still is on the roster at the end of the preseason.
Defensive end Greg Hardy talks about the challenges of playing with asthma.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
WalterFootball.com already has a 2014 mock draft out. The bad news is they think the Saints still will be looking for a pass-rusher. The good news is the Saints don’t pick until No. 27, which, if it comes true, would mean that their defense can’t be all that horrible in 2013.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
With some help from hockey’s Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin ranks highly on this list of young, franchise-caliber duos from 26 cities. Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Carolina’s Cam Newton also are a part of top-20 duos. New Orleans isn’t represented, but I think it’s fair to assume that’s because Drew Brees doesn’t qualify as “young."