View Full Version : Players still insist they don't think about Cowher

12-29-2006, 05:39 AM

By The Associated Press
Thursday, December 28, 2006

If the Pittsburgh Steelers are determined to win one for Bill Cowher, they're certainly not acting like it.
With the Steelers (7-8) now out of playoff contention, the focus for their season-ending game Sunday at Cincinnati has shifted to the possible resignation of Bill Cowher less than 11 months after he coached them to a Super Bowl victory.

Except, it seems, in their own locker room.

"No, that's not the motivation," linebacker Joey Porter said Wednesday. "I don't think nobody is using that because he's never said anything like that to us. That's not a motivational speech you can use until somebody says it."

Cowher plans to announce his future plans next week a sign that the NFL coach with the longest current tenure with a single team may be ready to retire or temporarily step out of the NFL after 15 seasons in Pittsburgh. He has one season left on a contract he signed in 2004, but has made no move to sign an extension.

In many NFL cities, changes in the front office and the coaching staff occur on a fairly regular basis. But not in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers have had the same primary ownership for all but a few months since 1933 and only two coaches since 1969.

While the 49-year-old Cowher's status is the topic du jour in the city where he coaches, his players don't seem to be caught up in the is-he-staying or is-he-going discussions.

"I'm not lying, we don't talk about it until you guys come asking about it," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told reporters. "It's not a thought on our minds."

Porter has played for Cowher, and only Cowher, since 1999 and the two have more than a usual player-coach relationship. When Cowher's two oldest daughters came to town Friday to play in Princeton's basketball game against Duquesne, Porter and linebacker Larry Foote were among those sitting with Cowher and his wife.

If Cowher steps down, it may be to spend more time watching his three daughters play basketball his youngest is a high school sophomore in North Carolina before he decides whether he wants to coach again. He also might want to move into a broadcast booth as an analyst.

Porter said he isn't certain what Cowher plans to do, although he said a couple of weeks ago that he expected Cowher to return.

"You stay out of that situation that's the man's business," Porter said. "Hopefully he is here, that's all I'm hoping for. Until he tells me different, that's what I'm planning on."

Wide receiver Hines Ward, like Porter, is one of the few NFL players who have spent substantial time in the league yet have played for only one head coach. Ward, whose career began in 1998, said it would be a big change if Cowher leaves, but change is the league's one constant.

"In this business, players and coaches come and go, if Cowher stays, everybody in the city will love it," Ward said. "If he goes, every man has his right to leave and go on to do other things. We as players appreciate the time we've had with him, and we're not really looking or worried about the future."

However, Ward said he would like to see the Steelers promote Cowher's replacement, if there is one, from within. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and offensive line coach Russ Grimm have interviewed previously for head coaching jobs.

12-29-2006, 06:56 AM
Thats the way it should be. The season isn't over with yet with one more game to play. Cowher has got a work ethic instilled into his team that no matter what happens they are there to play. He won't let them focus on anything else but the Bengals on Sunday. That just goes to show what hes done in the locker room since hes been here. You won't see temper tantrums and crying and whining like you do around the rest of the league. I just hope that whoever follows Cowher he will have the same set of values and work ethic that Bill brought.

12-29-2006, 07:23 AM
The Rooneys will make sure whoever is hired holds the same values and respect for tradition that BC does. After reading steelers.com a few minutes ago and hearing what Kreider and Foote said about wanting to make sure that the Bengals join our misery of not making the playoffs, they seem to be really intent on going out with a win this season and finishing .500 so let's hope that focus continues.

House of Steel
12-29-2006, 10:08 AM
I absolutely agree with you, Matt. In the back of their minds, you know darn well this is bothering them pretty much. Common Sense would tell you this. There is no way they can ignore all this talk about Cowher and his pending retirement.