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Thursday, January 24, 2013
NFC South links: EJ Manuel eyes Panthers

By ESPN.com staff

Atlanta Falcons
The team is in talks with the state of Georgia over the level of public financing for a new $1 billion stadium, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports -- with Gov. Nathan Deal saying he wants the figure to be lower than the $300 million upon which the team previously agreed with the state convention authority.

"Everything is designed to go out there and win. We had our chances. Just a few plays here and there,” said Falcons' third-year linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who tells team website reporter Daniel Cox that he's already preparing for next season.

Carolina Panthers
Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel told the Charlotte Observer that he "would be a good fit" as backup for quarterback Cam Newton; Derek Anderson, Newton's understudy in 2012, is a free agent and could follow former Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski to Cleveland.

Former Panthers defensive tackle Brentson Buckner is on the verge of a deal to become the Arizona Cardinals' defensive line coach, he tells the Rock Hill Herald.

New Orleans Saints
Saints players including linebacker Curtis Lofton and kicker Garrett Hartley passed out gifts and posed for photos at spots around New Orleans as part of a charity campaign pegged to the city's celebration of hosting its 10th Super Bowl.

Sean Payton is relying on "closure," as the Times-Picayune reports the coach's top priority during his first visit with the media was to clearly try to put the bounty controversy in the rearview mirror.

San Diego-based Integrated Sports Marketing, the promoter being sued by Drew Brees’ charitable foundation, says it was Brees -- not the firm -- that failed to meet obligations involving the quarterback’s signature celebrity golf tournament, reports the Union-Tribune.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs brass gathered in Mobile, Ala., ahead of Saturday's Senior Bowl has been focused on defensive backs, but, after star cornerbacks Dee Milliner of Alabama and Johnthan Banks of Mississippi State, pickings are slim -- which means the team might need to get creative, the Tampa Tribune notes.

Officials in the Bucs' ticket office have been contacting season-ticket holders to inquire if they would move their seats. Jose Patino Girona of The Tampa Bay Tribune explains the reason why.