- The Washington Times - Friday, October 2, 2009

Hollis Thomas, Carolina’s latest attempt to fill its giant hole at defensive tackle, had just finished his first practice with the Panthers on Thursday when he was asked what he would bring to his new team.

Standing with his helmet off and his belly spilling over the top of his pants, the 6-foot, 340-pound Thomas didn’t hesitate.

“A little levity, a little thickness in the middle,” Thomas replied.

Winless and desperate to find anybody to help stop the run, the Panthers were willing to take a chance with the 35-year-old portly humorist. A day after he was released by St. Louis, the Panthers signed the 14-year veteran and released rookie Ra’Shon Harris.

“He’s got a lot of experience. I think right now we’re young there,” coach John Fox said. “He’s played the game at this level for some time. A lot of this is how to play. I think he’ll help us immensely in that area.”

COWBOYS: Owner Jerry Jones said running back Marion Barber should play Sunday against Denver.

Barber missed Monday night’s 21-7 victory over Carolina after injuring a thigh the previous week. He was close to ready Monday, but the medical staff decided to hold him out.

Jones said Barber showed more progress than expected Wednesday. Barber was in full gear for Thursday’s practice.

VICK: Nike said it does not have a “contractual relationship” with Michael Vick, a day after the quarterback’s agent announced a deal with the manufacturer.

In a statement, Nike said it has “agreed to supply product to Michael Vick as we do a number of athletes who are not under contract with Nike.”

On Wednesday, Michael Principe, the managing director of BEST, the agency that represents Vick, announced the Philadelphia Eagles player had a new deal with Nike during a panel discussion at the Sports Sponsorship Symposium.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville’s game against Tennessee on Sunday will be blacked out on local TV.

It will be the only blackout in the league this week. The Jaguars have struggled to sell tickets and are in danger of having all of their games blacked out this season.

JETS: Cornerback Darrelle Revis and safeties Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard fully participated in practice and appear set to play against New Orleans.

It was encouraging news for the Jets after Revis (hamstring) and Rhodes (knee) were limited Wednesday, and Leonhard (knee) didn’t practice. The Jets probably will need all three starters Sunday against Drew Brees and the Saints’ top-ranked offense.

BILLS: Starting cornerback Leodis McKelvin was placed on season-ending injured reserve to clear room for the team to add running back Marshawn Lynch to the active roster.

The move came as the team’s roster exemption expired for Lynch, who had completed an NFL-imposed three-game suspension.

SEAHAWKS: Matt Hasselbeck missed yet another practice, making it all the more likely he will miss his second straight game Sunday at Indianapolis.

The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback did some light throwing behind the huddle. It was the most he’s done in a practice since he broke a rib at San Francisco on Sept. 20.

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