Carolina owner Jerry Richardson (right), a former Baltimore Colt who is awaiting a heart transplant, attended yesterday's game between his Panthers and the Denver Broncos in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers won, 30-10.
The 72-year-old owner was told last week during a hospital stay that he needs a transplant. He was placed on a donor waiting list.
In spite of his health, he was in a front-row seat yesterday in his open-air suite at Bank of America Stadium. He appeared to be covered in a black and blue Panthers blanket.
Richardson, who missed Monday night's 38-23 win over the division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is the first former NFL player since George Halas to own a team. He and his two sons worked for years to get an NFL expansion team, a prospect once thought impossible for Charlotte.
INJURIES: : Referee Jeff Triplette added a bright splash of red blood to his black and white stripes on a rough NFL Sunday that didn't even spare the officials from the pain.
"I'm good, I'm good," Triplette told the Associated Press after the game, with both nostrils filled with gauze. "It's not a broken nose. It's just bloodied."
With 1:54 remaining, Abram Elam sacked J.P. Losman from behind and caused a fumble, and Ellis picked up the ball and rumbled into the end zone. During the hectic play, Bills center Duke Preston hit Triplette from behind.
"There's nothing he could've done to prevent that," Triplette said. On a more serious note, the Tennessee Titans might have lost a lot more than a game. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was injured near the end of Tennessee's 13-12 defeat by Houston when his left leg was caught under the pile. He remained on the turf for several minutes while Titans officials looked at him. He finally got up and hobbled off the field.
"Hopefully if he's not able to go next week we have somebody else who can step in and pick up the slack," defensive end Jevon Kearse said.
Triplette was checked briefly by trainers and worked the rest of the game while wiping his face with a towel. Preston sought him after the game to check on him and apologize.
"He's a really classy young man because he came to the locker room afterward and wanted to know if I was OK," Triplette said. "Whoever No. 75 is, he's a really classy young man."
JAGUARS: : Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will be fired at the end of a disappointing year, ESPN reported, quoting unnamed sources. Coach Jack Del Rio told ESPN: "The [report] is ahead of the game. Nothing's been decided." The Jaguars play the Ravens in the season finale Dec. 28.