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Sunday, July 31, 2011
Live from Spartanburg

By Pat Yasinskas

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- I just arrived in “Sparkle City’’ and will be doing interviews and watching the Carolina Panthers practice Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

I’ll provide some live updates and notes and also will be gathering information for our Camp Confidential series and our season previews.

Updating our earlier item on guard Justin Blalock returning to Atlanta, his six-year contract is worth $38 million with $16 million guaranteed.

Now, on to some links about the day’s happenings around the division.

The Saints, who are assembling one of the league’s deepest defensive backfields, signed former Baltimore cornerback Fabian Washington.

Tampa Bay safety Cody Grimm admitted he’s not fully recovered from the leg injury that ended his rookie season. But Grimm said he expects to be 100 percent by the start of the regular season.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton said he believes defensive end Will Smith finally will have to serve the four-game suspension for violating the league's rules on performance-enhancing substances that was tied up by the legal system since 2008.

Safety Roman Harper said he really didn’t want to leave New Orleans. But he might have if the Saints hadn’t stepped up with a four-year, $28.5 million contract.

Carolina coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers are very much in the market for another quarterback. Presumably, they want a veteran to help mentor Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen. Makes you wonder if Jake Delhomme, who was released by Cleveland, could be up for a return to Carolina.