Sunday, December 31, 2006
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Bill Cowher's impending announcement about his future may not be as much about money as his desire to take a hiatus from coaching and spend more time with his family.
But money has been a factor in what will ultimately transpire in the next week or two, helping to fuel his thoughts of early retirement and perhaps reducing his days as Steelers coach -- a position he has held for 15 years -- to a precious few.
Sometime after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL in February, Cowher revealed to some in the organization he was entertaining thoughts of retiring. But those sentiments were heightened when he apparently balked at a contract extension he was offered by team president Art Rooney II, a deal that would have paid Cowher between $6 million and $6.5 million annually in the final years of the contract, according to several people who have knowledge of the situation.
It is difficult to determine where the contract would have put Cowher among the National Football League's top-paid coaches because such salary information is not made available by NFL teams or agents. Unlike player salaries, which are compiled by the NFL Players Association and shared among NFL teams, coaches salaries are closely guarded secrets.
But, it is likely the deal would have made Cowher one of the top five paid coaches in the league, and perhaps made him among the top two or three. It is believed Cowher will earn approximately $4.5 million this year, which would place him, by most estimates, among the top eight paid coaches in the league