Let’s take a look at the top headlines from around the NFC South.
Defensive tackle Brian Price reportedly will miss the team’s minicamp that starts Tuesday. Price reportedly is working out with a personal trainer in California and has the team’s blessing. Coach Greg Schiano quickly has developed a reputation for not cutting any slack to his players, but he’s making an exception in Price’s case. I think that’s the right call because this is a unique situation. Price recently lost his sister in a car accident. He needs time to heal and it’s not imperative for him to be in Tampa right now. If he’s ready for training camp, I think that’s a reasonable expectation for all the parties involved.
Veteran receiver Chad Ochocinco says he has signed with the Miami Dolphins. So it looks like we can put an end to the questions about him landing in the NFC South, which I don’t think was ever a remote possibility.
Joseph Person has a five-point checklist on the Panthers as they start minicamp Tuesday. The most intriguing item to me is right tackle, where Jeff Otah had a knee injury last week. The Panthers say tests showed no further damage to a knee that’s been banged up the past couple of years. I’m thinking that unless Otah really shows conclusive evidence from now through the preseason that his knee is completely healthy, his time in Carolina could be over and Byron Bell will be the starter. It’s a shame because Otah had enormous talent as a run-blocker. But, if the Panthers can’t count on his knee to hold up, they have to move on.
Although an arbitrator ruled last week that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had the right to suspend New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith and former New Orleans linebacker Scott Fujita, he initially reserved a final ruling on former New Orleans defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove. But the arbitrator rule Monday that Goodell had the authority to suspend Hargrove. All four players also have appealed their suspensions to Goodell, who is scheduled to hear the appeals next week.
New Orleans rookie Nick Toon has drawn comparisons to his father, former NFL receiver Al Toon, and to current New Orleans No. 1 receiver Marques Colston. If Toon can be just a little like those two, he’s got a chance to emerge as the Saints’ No. 4 receiver this year.