NFL notebook: Panthers’ Gibson on injured reserve

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Associated Press
CHARLOTTE ó The Carolina Panthers have placed defensive tackle Gary Gibson on injured reserve with a hand injury, further depleting the most banged-up position on the team.
The Panthers filled the roster spot Tuesday by signing J’Vonne Parker, who had been on Atlanta’s practice squad. The 6-foot-4, 325-pound Parker has appeared in 11 games with Cleveland, Dallas and Baltimore since 2005.
Gibson, who backed up Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis, saw action in Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants before injuring his hand. Kemoeatu didn’t play because of a sprained right ankle, and Lewis was sidelined in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.
The Panthers also signed defensive tackle Lorenzo Williams to the practice squad.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó In the history of the NFL, three teams have had two running backs rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris did it for the undefeated Miami Dolphins in 1972. Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier each hit the K-mark for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976, and Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack each ran for 1,000 yards for Cleveland in 1985.
The New York Giants are on the verge of joining the club heading into the regular-season finale against the Minnesota Vikings with Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward ó two players who will be free agents at the end of the season.
Jacobs, who has battled a sore left knee most of the season, already has 1,089 yards. Ward is 52 yards from reaching 1,000 after gaining a career-best 215 in a 34-28 overtime victory over the Carolina Panthers.
“It would mean a lot to us,” Jacobs said Tuesday before the Giants held a jog-through workout. “Derrick works hard, and he deserves it. He has been under the radar a lot, so if he can get this done and get these 52 yards and make that happen, I’d be very, very, very happy. To be honest with you, that is a very special thing to share with someone like him as close as we are.”
The Atlanta Falcons also had a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in 2006 with halfback Warrick Dunn and quarterback Michael Vick.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. ó The winless Detroit Lions don’t have much to be proud about.
Jason Hanson is an exception.
He has made an NFL-high 95.5 percent of his field goals, a record 41 kicks from 50-plus yards during his career and no one in league history has been more accurate on shorter field goals.
Hanson doesn’t earn much praise because the Lions are the NFL’s first 0-15 team. They are 31-96 since 2001 in what has been the league’s worst eight-season stretch in more than a half-century.
“I’ve won only 31 games here, but I can say I’m playing with a Hall of Famer because he’s a teammate,” center Dominic Raiola said. “His resume speaks for itself.”
PITTSBURGH ó Santa Claus’ visit to Mike Tomlin’s weekly news conference didn’t elicit a “ho, ho, ho” from the less-than-amused Steelers coach.
Bill DiFabio, a sports announcer from Washington, Pa., traditionally dresses up as Santa for the pre-Christmas press gathering and often pokes fun at the Steelers coach for a few moments. Former coach Bill Cowher often went along with the gag.
Tomlin also played along initially, asking, “What have you got for me, Santa?” and inviting DiFabio to join him at his desk in front of the room.
But when DiFabio commandeered the news conference for more than five minutes, passing out gifts and cracking jokes about fellow sportscasters, the Browns and Cowboys, nose tackle Casey Hampton’s weight and the woebegone Pirates, Tomlin became impatient.
To end the unrehearsed skit, Tomlin ó who could be heard sighing several times throughout the comedy bit ó grudgingly agreed to toss a football to the fake Santa.
“If that will get you out of here,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin repeatedly emphasized the Steelers (11-4) would not treat Sunday’s meaningless game against the Browns (4-11) like an exhibition, and he apparently did not appreciate a comedy skit interfering with his message.
Later, the Steelers said there would be no future appearances from Santa at any of their news conferences.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. ó Now that’s one costly snowball.
New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis was fined $10,000 by the NFL for throwing snow at fans following the team’s loss at Seattle.
Several fans threw snowballs at New York players and staff as they walked off the field following the Seahawks’ 13-3 victory. As he approached the walkway leading to the locker room, Ellis reached into a pile of snow, picked up a large chunk and tossed it into the stands at Qwest Field, appearing to hit at least a few fans. No one was believed to have been injured.
Ellis said Tuesday that he wasn’t angry at the time and there was no malicious intent on his part.
“It was all in fun,” he said.