The weather was nasty, windy, miserable. For Willie Parker, it was a record cold night.
Parker broke the Steelers' single-game rushing record with 223 yards - a game better than either Franco Harris or Jerome Bettis enjoyed - and Pittsburgh excelled as usual in inferior weather by roughing up the offense-less Browns 27-7 Thursday night.
Parker, the first player in Steelers history to have two 200-yard games in a season, broke John "Frenchy" Fuqua's record of 218 yards against Philadelphia in 1970, two years before Fuqua was the intended receiver on Harris' famous Immaculate Reception against Oakland.
Parker wasn't drafted out of North Carolina in 2004 and originally thought he'd be a special teams player with Pittsburgh.
"They've never had a speed back, they've always had power backs so I thought I'd have to make a niche on special teams," Parker said. "Then I said, 'Naw, I'm going to keep going at it, keep hard at it and be a running back, just be that every down back.' "
The Steelers ran the ball so well, tackle Marvel Smith said, the Cleveland defensive players were yelling at each other in the huddle.
"There's no better feeling than that, when they know you're going to run it and they still can't stop it," Smith said. "We rammed it down their throats."
Bears' Harris could miss rest of season
Defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who made the Pro Bowl a year ago in his second season, could miss the remainder of the Chicago Bears' season with a severe hamstring injury.
Harris left Sunday's game against Minnesota in the third quarter with what was originally announced as a sprained left knee. Monday, coach Lovie Smith said the injury was not season-ending.
But Thursday, Smith said the hamstring injury was more severe than the knee sprain and that Harris was slated to go to Dallas to see a specialist.
BILLS: Strong safety Donte Whitner hurt his hamstring in practice, leaving the team potentially minus another defensive starter when they play the Jets this weekend.
PANTHERS: Quarterback Jake Delhomme missed practice again with ligament damage in the thumb on his throwing hand, increasing the chance backup Chris Weinke will start on Sunday against the Giants.
STADIUM FINANCING: The NFL voted to loan the New York Giants and Jets a combined $300-million and the Chiefs $42.5-million from the league's G-3 fund that helps finance and renovate stadiums. The Giants and Jets are partners in a new stadium project in New Jersey, and the Chiefs are refurbishing Arrowhead Stadium. The measure was approved by a 30-2 margin, with the Bills and Bengals casting the no votes. The $300-million was double the largest amount previously awarded any NFL stadium project from the G-3 program.
OBITUARY: Former Dolphins running back Andra Franklin died Wednesday in Lincoln, Neb., of natural causes. He was 47. Mr. Franklin, who played for Nebraska, had heart problems and other health issues in recent years. He was drafted in the second round by Miami and played for four years, his career ended by a knee injury. Mr. Franklin had a key mistake late in the Dolphins' famous overtime playoff loss to the Chargers in 1982. With Miami leading 38-31 and running out the clock at the San Diego 21-yard line, the Chargers recovered Mr. Franklin's fumble, then drove for the tying touchdown.
SALARY CAP: The salary cap is expected to go up by about $7-million per team in each of the next two seasons, reaching about $116-million for 2008.