NFL roundup: Parker voices frustration

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2008

Associated Press
PITTSBURGH ó Willie Parker says it’s not too late for the Pittsburgh Steelers to go back to being the Steelers, and that means running the ball.
Traditionally one of the NFL’s most-committed rushing teams, the Steelers are 23rd in the league with 1,350 yards on 373 carries. They are 10-3 but are on pace for their second-worst rushing season since the 1970 merger.
“This is when you’ve got to pound it out,” Parker said. “This is those dog days. When you go into the playoffs, the team that can run the ball is going to win.”
MINNEAPOLIS ó A Minnesota judge has extended his preliminary injunction against the NFL’s suspension of five players for violating the league’s anti-doping policy.
In his ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson asked both parties to propose a schedule by Dec. 22 to file pleadings in the case. That means the players are cleared to play for at least the next two weeks.
Kevin Williams and Pat Williams of the Minnesota Vikings and Charles Grant, Deuce McAllister and Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints were suspended last week for four games each. They tested positive for a banned diuretic in the dietary supplement StarCaps.
The union argued the NFL didn’t properly inform players about what it knew about the product. The NFL’s attorneys argued that claim, and others, had been considered and rejected in a process set out by the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
* NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó A drug-testing lab in Tennessee confirmed more than a year ago that StarCaps, the over-the-counter weight-loss pill at the center of five NFL player suspensions, contained the banned diuretic Bumetanide, and the toxicologist in charge said athletes using it put themselves at risk of more than just a positive drug test.
“Bumetanide is a potent diuretic for an athlete or someone in a situation where they might become dehydrated,” David Black told The Associated Press. “They’d be taking a diuretic without the knowledge of it. That could lead to serious health considerations. That could lead to electrolyte abnormalities, cardiovascular collapse, cardiac arrhythmias, heart attack, stroke and death.”
ALLEN PARK, Mich. ó The winless Detroit Lions might be the worst team in the league’s modern era, earning a spot in the conversation with the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1980 New Orleans Saints, 1986 Indianapolis Colts and last year’s Miami Dolphins.
“It’s hard, but it’s fair,” Detroit running back Kevin Smith said.
If the Lions (0-13) lose their last three games, at least one former Buc from the infamous 0-14 team will not be popping champagne to celebrate.
“It’s a tough situation,” said Vikings linebacker coach Fred Pagac, who played for Tampa Bay in its inaugural season. “I hope something works out for them.”
The 1980 Saints lost their first 14 games before finishing 1-15. The 1986 Colts started 0-13, then won their next three games. The 2007 Dolphins began 0-13 last year and ended 1-15.
SAN JOSE, Calif. ó Matt Cassel has returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s workouts following his father’s death.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ó Running back Fred Taylor will miss the rest of the season because of a thumb injury.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Brandon Jacobs and receiver Domenik Hixon missed New York Giants practice for the second straight day.
Coach Tom Coughlin said that Jacobs is feeling better but was uncertain whether he would practice today.
* Antonio Pierce said he does not know whether New York City police will want to talk to him again about the Plaxico Burress shooting.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. ó While the Minnesota Vikings say quarterback Gus Frerotte’s lower back is feeling better by the day, all signs are pointing to Tarvaris Jackson starting Sunday at Arizona.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó Running back Frank Gore hasn’t ruled himself out of the San Francisco 49ers’ upcoming game in Miami even after missing his second straight practice with a sprained ankle.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. ó Defensive end Aaron Schobel was placed on injured reserve because of a nagging left foot injury that has forced the team’s top pass-rusher to miss most of the season.
Backup quarterback J.P. Losman is expected to make his second straight start with Trent Edwards (groin injury) still not practicing.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. ó Wide receiver Brad Smith has a concussion as a result of a vicious hit he took from San Francisco’s Patrick Willis, and his status for New York’s game against Buffalo on Sunday is uncertain.
RENTON, Wash. ó Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and tackle Walter Jones are unlikely to play for the Seahawks on Sunday at St. Louis.
ST. LOUIS ó The St. Louis Rams’ game against the Seattle Seahawks will not be televised locally after failing to sell out 72 hours before kickoff. It’s the fifth time in the last three seasons the franchise failed to sell out.
The Rams sold out their first 100 games after moving to St. Louis in 1995.
BEREA, Ohio ó Kellen Winslow, whose badly sprained left ankle will likely keep him off the field the remainder of the season, wants to stay in Cleveland.
“I love being a Cleveland Brown,” he said.
CENTENNIAL, Colo. ó A former Denver Broncos player charged in a fatal hit-and-run postponed entering a plea nd is now expected to enter one on Jan. 15.
Billy Jenkins has been charged with vehicular homicide, leaving the scene, driving under the influence and failure to provide insurance.
Authorities say 51-year-old Tracy Gill died when his scooter was rear-ended Aug. 28 in the Denver suburb of Aurora.