Around the NFC South

Let's take a look at the top headlines around the NFC South.

  • It’s coming a little later than expected, but New Orleans coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach reportedly will have their appeal hearings on their suspensions heard Thursday. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he plans to rule on the appeals quickly.

  • The Saints have agreed to terms with former Seattle linebacker David Hawthorne. Although he has played in the middle, it appears likely Hawthorne will slide to the outside as the Saints continue to overhaul their linebacker corps. They already have added Curtis Lofton and Chris Chamberlain as free agents. Lofton is likely to play in the middle and Chamberlain and Hawthorne both can play outside. The Saints seem to be bracing themselves for change at linebacker. Jonathan Vilma, the starter at middle linebacker last season, is coming off an injury and possibly could face suspension for his role in the Saints' bounty program. With Chamberlain and Hawthorne in the fold, the Saints could be looking to make changes on the outside. They still have veterans Scott Shanle and Will Herring and have high hopes for young players Martez Wilson and Jonathan Casillas.

  • Carolina reserve quarterback Jimmy Clausen was brought in to throw passes to Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd in his pre-draft workout for NFL teams. Clausen and Floyd previously played together at Notre Dame. Although there had been some speculation Clausen might be released to avoid payment of a roster bonus, it appears he’ll be staying with the Panthers. The deadline for the roster bonus has passed and Clausen seems likely to compete with Derek Anderson in training camp for the backup spot behind Cam Newton.

  • Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount said he wouldn’t be happy if the Buccaneers take Alabama running back Trent Richardson in the first round of the draft. But that’s not Blount’s decision and the Bucs do appear to at least have an interest in Richardson. If they make the move, it will be largely because Blount has had problems with fumbles in the past and hasn’t shown the ability to handle pass-blocking duties.