CHARLOTTE – Defensive end Frank Alexander has been reinstated to the active roster following two suspensions which forced him to miss the first 14 games of the 2014 season.
Wide receiver De'Andre Presley was placed on injured reserve with a concussion, opening a spot on the roster for Alexander, who was Carolina's No. 3 defensive end at the conclusion of training camp.
Alexander, a fourth-round pick from Oklahoma in 2012, has played in 28 games with six starts. He's recorded 37 tackles, 3.5 sacks, six passes defensed and three fumble recoveries.
"I feel like I let a lot of people down," said Alexander, who had been suspended for violating the league's policy and program for substances of abuse. "I want to try to get back on the right track."
INJURY UPDATES: Linebacker A.J. Klein missed his first game of the season versus the Cleveland Browns with an ankle injury, but he has a chance to play in the regular season finale against the Atlanta Falcons. Undrafted rookie Adarius Glanton made his first career start in Klein's place and finished with three tackles.
"Hopefully, we'll get A.J. back this week," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We'll see how he does."
Aside from Presley's concussion, Rivera reported no other injuries from Sunday's game. He added that quarterback Cam Newton is in good shape following his first action since his car accident.
"He looked good and played well," Rivera said. "All indications are that he came out of it good."
SCHEDULE CHANGE:Sunday's game for the NFC South title has a new start time and network.
The Panthers-Falcons showdown has been flexed to a 4:25 p.m. kickoff on CBS. The game originally was scheduled for a 1 p.m. start on FOX.
SCHEDULE CHANGE II: Rivera made some changes to the team's schedule to allow players to spend time with their families on Christmas.
The players were given Monday off, but they'll practice on Tuesday, which is typically the off-day during the week.
"This was the schedule all along," Rivera said. "We were going to give the players Monday off and work Tuesday, Wednesday and we'll have Thursday off before working Friday and Saturday."
TOLBERT WINS GOOD GUY AWARD: Fullback Mike Tolbert was selected as this year's winner of the Tom Berry Good Guy Award, presented annually by the Carolinas chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America.
The award honors the player who was most helpful to the media throughout the season. It's named for the longtime columnist and Panthers beat writer for the High Points Enterprise who died at the start of the 2009 season.
Previous winners include: Brad Hoover (2009), Jordan Gross (2010), Captain Munnerlyn (2011), James Anderson (2012) and Greg Olsen (2013).