South Notes: Jones, Blackmon, LeBeau

News out of the AFC and NFC South..

  • Some have concluded that since Julio Jones has one year left on his contract and is on the verge of getting a lucrative extension that new Falcons coach Dan Quinn would prefer to trade him for extra draft picks. However, his comments during a Tuesday news conference indicate that Jones is a part of Quinn’s gameplan going forward. “Absolutely — I can’t wait (to meet him). Just a chance to go through the process with him. … We love great players. We’re trying to celebrate all the good guys. We’re trying to collect more great players, not the other way around,” Quinn said, according to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The odds are against guys like Josh Gordon and Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon making it back to the NFL, opines Jason La Canfora of (on Twitter). Both have lots of work ahead of them in the league substance abuse program and have spent a good deal of time away from the team structure.
  • Dick LeBeau might have several former players who could be available to join him with the Titans, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets. Safety Troy Polamalu, defensive end Brett Keisel, linebacker James Harrison, and cornerback Ike Taylor could all be available and interested in a reunion with the 77-year-old coach. Polamalu currently has two years left on his deal with Pittsburgh but it’s conceivable that they could part ways. Taylor was considering retirement but recently decided that he would return to football.
  • Panthers coach Ron Rivera reassigned special teams coordinator Richard Rodgers, sources told Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Carolina’s special teams finished at or near the bottom in a number of major special teams categories this past season. Rivera will promote Rodgers’ assistant Bruce DeHaven to fill that role.
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