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Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Around the NFC South: Afternoon version

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Time for a quick afternoon trip around the NFC South.

PANTHERS

Steve Smith didn't talk during today's media session after returning to practice for the first time. But Ken Lucas, who Smith drew a two-game suspension for punching, did. Once again, Lucas handled the situation with incredible class and continued to say the incident brought the team closer together. Amazingly, he's right.

The Vikings announced Gus Frerotte will start Sunday. Julius Peppers has taken some heat for not recording a sack yet. That's not fair because Peppers has played pretty well. But, if he can't chase down Frerotte, the criticism becomes legitimate.

BUCCANEERS

Defensive end Gaines Adams has a rib injury and missed practice. Coach Jon Gruden wouldn't indicate if the injury could keep Adams out of Sunday's game.

FALCONS

Tight end Jason Rader was signed this morning. Rader had been with Atlanta this preseason, but was released Sept. 1. He's got history with offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and will be used as a blocking specialist.

SAINTS

Mixed news on the injury front. Cornerback Randall Gay and safety Roman Harper were back at practice, although in a limited capacity. But linebacker Scott Fujita didn't practice.