Ball was a contract holdout earlier this year

Updated: October 27, 2004, 9:03 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

San Diego Chargers: Center Jason Ball, who missed all of training camp and the first game of the season during a contract holdout, was released by the Chargers on Tuesday.

The Chargers also released wide receiver Micah Ross.

San Diego signed defensive back Jerrell Pippens from the practice squad and added free agent center-guard Bob Hallen.

Ball skipped all offseason workouts and training camp while demanding a long-term deal. He reported six days after the opener.

He played in the last three games, starting two in place of injured starter Nick Hardwick. Hardwick, a rookie, returned to the starting lineup last weekend.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars added much needed depth to their pass rush by reaching a one-year, $760,000 contract with former Steelers linebacker Jason Gildon.

Gildon, 32, was released by the Steelers in June in a salary cap-related move. The Jaguars have one of the thinnest defensive end positions in football. They cut Tony Brackens and Hugh Douglas before the season, then lost veterans Paul Spicer and Lionel Barnes to season-ending injuries.

For the remainder of the season, the Jaguars converted 244-pound Greg Favors to defensive end, and they could do some of the same with Gildon. Gildon has 77 career sacks and was used from a three-point stance during passing situations with the Steelers.

He's 6-4, 255 pounds. Gildon visited the Jaguars on Monday and reached an agreement Tuesday morning.
-- John Clayton, senior ESPN.com NFL writer

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers signed running back Brandon Bennett to replace DeShaun Foster, who was placed on injured reserve.

Bennett has played in 74 games in five seasons, all with the Cincinnati Bengals.

He played in all 16 games last year, and led the team's running backs with career highs of 25 catches and 176 yards receiving, with one touchdown. He ran for 173 yards on 56 carries.

Bennett played at South Carolina, where he became just the third player in school history to lead the Gamecocks in rushing four consecutive seasons.

Foster, who broke his collarbone on Oct. 10. led the Panthers with 255 yards and two touchdowns on 59 carries. He also missed all of his rookie season in 2002 with a knee injury.

Arizona Cardinals: It took Neil Rackers just 13 games with the Cardinals to earn an honor most NFL veterans will never see.

Rackers kicked field goals of 55, 55 and 50 yards on Sunday, helping the Cardinals beat Seattle 25-17, and was notified that the Pro Football Hall of Fame wants the shoes he wore while tying an NFL record. With three field goals of 50 yards-plus in a game, Rackers matched Morten Andersen, who did it in 1995 with Atlanta.

The Canton, Ohio-based hall contains artifacts from pro football history and collects more items as each season unfolds.

Rackers spent the final seven games of last season with the Cardinals after recovering from torn knee cartilage. Released by Cincinnati during his convalescence, Rackers filed what became a successful grievance against the Bengals because of an injury-related release. He signed with Arizona as a free agent on Nov. 11.

Former Giant Ingram sentenced to jail
Former wide receiver Mark Ingram, a key to the New York Giants' 1991 Super Bowl victory, has been sentenced to one year in jail for stealing a credit card at a Michigan golf course.

Ingram, 39, now being held in a federal prison on a parole violation, received the sentence in a deal after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for stealing a credit card from Copper Ridge Golf Course in Genesee County's Davison Township in July 2003. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed a felony fraud charge and a charge that he stole a club at the course.

At Thursday's sentencing, District Judge John L. Conover said the jail term may run concurrent to Ingram's current federal sentence. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors charged Ingram with laundering drug money, dealing in stolen cars and cashing counterfeit checks.

In a federal indictment made public in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., authorities say Ingram cashed more than $300,000 in phony checks and laundered $200,000. He also was accused of laundering drug money and of committing other crimes in a criminal complaint unsealed Oct. 4 in New York.

Ingram already has served a six-month federal sentence for possessing counterfeit bills. He was being held at the federal detention center in Brooklyn on accusations of violating terms of his release on an earlier charge.

Green Bay Packers: Defensive tackle Larry Smith was waived by the Packers.

Coach Mike Sherman said the 6-foot-5, 292-pound Smith provided depth on the defensive line when Grady Jackson and James Lee were sidelined with injuries.

Smith played in all three games since being re-signed Oct. 7, recording four tackles, three of them solos.

New Orleans Saints: Saints owner Tom Benson will be married Friday in San Antonio.

Benson is to be wed to Gayle Marie LaJaunie Bird at the Immaculate Conception Memorial Chapel. A reception will follow at the University of Incarnate Word.

A pre-wedding party was to be held at the New Orleans Museum of Art on Wednesday.

More than 2,000 people are on the guest lists for the events.

"It really will be two parties, so everything from a planning perspective is double," Bird said in a news release from the Saints. "There will be many priests celebrating the mass, and marrying us."

Bird, the owner of an interior design company in New Orleans, said selecting the date for the wedding was easy.

"Our schedules are very complicated," she said. "So when I'm asked, 'Why Oct. 29?' It's simple: It's the Saints' bye week."

Benson's first wife, Grace, died of Parkinson's last November.

Benson and Bird met at St. Louis Cathedral. After being introduced, Benson asked her to attend a New Orleans VooDoo game. He also owns the Arena Football League team.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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