Monday, July 23, 2012
NFC South afternoon update
By Pat Yasinskas
Time for an afternoon run through the top headlines from around the NFC South.
- The settlement conference for New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is trying to get his suspension wiped out or reduced by the NFL, ended with no resolution Monday. Unless some sort of agreement is reached in the meantime, the next step will come Thursday when Vilma's attempt at a restraining order is heard by a federal judge. The Saints begin reporting to training camp Tuesday, but their first on-field practice doesn’t come until Thursday evening.
- D. Orlando Ledbetter takes a look at Atlanta’s situation at tight end, which is basically Tony Gonzalez and a group of “other guys.’’ Michael Palmer might have the edge as the No. 2 tight end right now, and is likely to get plenty of use as a blocker. But Palmer also can help his case for the long term if he shows some pass-catching skills, because Gonzalez is 36 and has said this will likely be his final season. I’ll believe that when I see it, because Gonzalez looks like he has more than a year in him (if he chooses), but the Falcons do need to find a replacement
- While announcing Monday that single-game tickets will go on sale this week, the Buccaneers announced several events planned for their home schedule. They’ll honor their Super Bowl team at the Dec. 9 game against Philadelphia, they will wear their throwback uniforms for the Oct. 21 game against New Orleans, and Paul Gruber will be inducted into the Ring of Honor at the Oct. 14 game against Kansas City.
- Cam Newton’s television commercial wasn’t the only unique thing going on at Bank of America Stadium this offseason. Carolina coach Ron Rivera also was catching pitches from his daughter, who plays college softball. Check out this story that tells us a lot about Rivera off the field. I'm glad Rivera opened up like this, because Carolina fans deserve to know more about what kind of guy their coach is. Predecessor John Fox also had a lot of wonderful things going on in his personal life. I always respected Fox's right to keep his family out of the spotlight, but think he went a little overboard in guarding his privacy.