HERNDON, Va. -- If Joe Gibbs needs a driver for his NASCAR team next year, Jerry Glanville is available.
Glanville, the coach of the Atlanta Falcons who is a NASCAR fan and even took driving lessons this year, said yesterday: "I was very disappointed that he didn't call and ask. In fact, I really hurt. I can't believe he wouldn't give me a ride."
Presumably, Glanville was joking about the Washington Redskins coach. It's sometimes difficult to tell when the Atlanta coach is serious.
During a conference call yesterday, Glanville complained about his team's injuries and charged that Gibbs stashes players on the injured reserve list and that commissioner Paul Tagliabue, a former Washington lawyer, is a Redskins fan.
With nine players on his injury report as he prepares for Sunday's game against the Redskins, Glanville said: "We've run out of players. Our problem is we can't practice. With our leadership in New York City, the way the rules are right now, you don't have the players. The people who make the decisions have never coached a team that's been hit by injuries."
He was referring to the league's rule that a player placed on the injured reserve list before the final roster cut can't practice all year and a player placed on the list after the final cut can't practice the first four weeks. The league, though, does allow a five-man practice squad.
Glanville said the Redskins manage to get around the injured-reserve rules.
"We don't IR 25 or 30 people like Joe does every year, that lucky guy. Every year, right after the final decisions are made, Joe gets 20 guys on IR. I just feel bad for him. All those guys are injured. Then they lock up practice and they get to practice with all those people. Oh, I'm envious," he said.
When Glanville was asked why he didn't do the same thing, he said: "Our practice field is open. People could see us. We're so nice to the press, they're at practice and they'd write, 'Oh, my gosh, they got 55 guys,' and we'd hear from the league.
"Not that we wouldn't violate a rule if we could get away with it. Unfortunately, we're the squeaky-clean team. This is the good guys vs. the bad guys. I heard the commissioner is a Redskin fan. I don't think that's fair. That's why he [Gibbs] gets 25 IR guys."
Glanville exaggerated somewhat. The Redskins have 10 players on injured reserve. But the Redskins do close practice to the media for the first month of the season when injured reserve players aren't supposed to practice and they do put players on injured reserve who've played throughout training camp without apparent injury. Quarterback Cary Conklin was the latest example.
Gibbs replied: "That sounds like Glanville. Well, I'd be willing to bet our numbers are pretty close to theirs. [Atlanta has seven players on injured reserve]. If they wanted all these guys, we only protected 47. I didn't see them jumping on anybody."
Of the nine players on Glanville's injury list, the one player who's definitely out is left tackle Mike Kenn, who has a knee surgery. The other tackle, Bill Fralic, is questionable with an elbow injury.
Meanwhile, quarterback Chris Miller, who gave way last week by Billy Joe Tolliver, is questionable with a sore ribs and cornerback Deion Sanders is questionable with a thigh injury.
With five other players listed as probable who may not be able to practice, Glanville said, "Nobody's practicing today."
That was an exaggeration, because Glanville then said he had to leave for practice.
"If I'm not there and we win, they'll find out I don't do anything," he said.
NOTES: Despite the 9-0 start, Gibbs lectured his players yesterday about their 4 turnovers Sunday: "What I said to them is that there's some things happening that can cost you games.". . . Gibbs' son, Coy, was named Pacific-10 Defensive Player of the Week last week for making 11 tackles for Stanford against Oregon. "I was strutting around. Hang with this 9-0 stuff. I was a proud dad," Gibbs said. . . . WR Gary Clark missed practice because his grandfather died.