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Steelers cease contract talks with Cowher


PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Steelers made official what has seemed evident for weeks: Coach Bill Cowher no longer is negotiating an extension to a contract that runs through 2007.

The team announced Tuesday it has ceased talks with Cowher on signing an extension so he can focus on coaching the returning Super Bowl champions. The team, which has had just two coaches in 38 seasons, has long had a policy of not negotiating contracts during a season but wants to renew talks with Cowher once the season ends.

This is the first time since Cowher was hired by his hometown team in 1992 that he will go into a season with as few as two seasons remaining on his contract. Cowher and the team had been discussing an extension since shortly after the Steelers won the Super Bowl in February.

Cowher said several times during the offseason that he prefers now to work on a year-to-year basis, a stance he adopted after the Steelers went 6-10 in 2003 after winning 23 games the previous two seasons. Cowher, although he is just 49, is beginning his 15th season in Pittsburgh and is the NFL's most tenured coach with a single team.

"Over the past several months we have had a continuing and positive dialogue with Coach Cowher's representative, Octagon President Phil de Picciotto, concerning Bill's contract and the future," team president Art Rooney II said in a statement issued by the team.

"I remain optimistic and hopeful that we will be able to conclude a contract extension which will keep Bill coaching the Pittsburgh Steelers for many more years. However, we have all agreed that at this time we will continue those conversations after this season so that Bill's focus, and the focus of the entire organization can be on the excitement and challenge of defending the Super Bowl championship."

Cowher's decision to not sign an extension has created speculation he might retire at the end of the season, with the possibility of him returning elsewhere as an NFL coach in a few years. He and his family have purchased a $2.5 million luxury home in Raleigh, N.C., where he attended North Carolina State, and Cowher's wife and youngest daughter are expected to live there this season.

His other two daughters will attend Princeton.

Cowher said as recently as last month that he hasn't decided if he will coach again next season. But Cowher was unhappy when former Steelers star Jerome Bettis predicted on NBC-TV on Sunday that Cowher might be in his final season in Pittsburgh.

Cowher wouldn't comment Tuesday on the Steelers' statement, standing by remarks he made Monday that he won't talk again this season about his future plans.

"There's been a lot of speculation about my future. I'm here to say once again that it's purely that, speculation," Cowher said Monday. "I don't like talking about the contract because we're in camp. I love coaching football, I love coaching here, and there's been a lot of speculation and I'm going to leave it at that. I can't control the future - again, that takes two sides - but I do have two years left on my contract, contrary to what some people think. That's all I want to talk about it," he said.


It seems as though Buying off all of the refs in the playoffs and a Super Bowl ,to make sure you win ,is expensive.

While the thought of a division without the Chin does sound nice,you have to worry if Cowher hangs up his chin or goes some where else, is Marvin on their short list.

Marvin is from the area and started his career in Pittsburgh.

I dont see Mike Brown getting in and winning a bidding war for a coach or for a player,as far as that goes.

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DaDraftNick, why do all of your posts seem to be about the Steelers? You seem to have an unhealthy obsession. Your posting style leads me to believe that you are about 14 years old.

Gee dad I didn't mean to hurt your feelings,I know how much the Steelers mean to you and that this site is for curing cancer working out the whole middle east crisis thing.

Sorry..... can I have the keys to the car???? :D

Ill do better next time.

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