NFC Notes: Antone Smith, Gore, Bucs

No running back in the NFL is scoring long touchdowns more frequently this season than Antone Smith of the Falcons, and team owner Arthur Blank has taken notice, writes Vaughn McClure of

“It’s incredible to see his performance,” Blank said. “And it’s actually really interesting because I really hadn’t paid a lot of attention to it, but he’s been to several other clubs in the NFL. You really wonder what it is in a player’s career that at a certain point in time, they blossom and they just trigger and go. And he’s obviously doing that now.”

While Smith has had several stops throughout his NFL career, Blank is hoping that the veteran running back won’t be moving onto a new team next season. Asked if he’d like to see Smith wearing a Falcons uniform beyond this season, the owner replied, “Absolutely. I have no reason to not want that, for sure.”

Here are a few more Thursday items from out of the NFC:

  • Responding to a report that suggested the 49ers informed him this past offseason that his roster spot was in jeopardy, running back Frank Gore said that didn’t happen, according to Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. Still, Gore isn’t sure if the Niners will try to re-sign him after the season, though he hopes to continue playing in San Francisco.
  • Buccaneers director of player development Isaiah Harris was arrested this morning on a misdemeanor DUI, and the team didn’t waste much time in letting him go. In a statement explaining the decision, Bucs GM Jason Licht indicated that “this type of incident, particularly for someone whose primary responsibilities are to mentor and develop our players off the field, cannot be tolerated.”
  • While defensive coordinator Dan Quinn‘s name comes up in any discussion about potential head coaching candidates, the Seahawks‘ coordinator on the other side of the ball, Darrell Bevell, have faced criticism for the offense’s recent performance. As Terry Blount of details, Bevell responded to his critics this week, acknowledging that he needs to find a way to get the ball to Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin more often.
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