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12-12-2006, 11:01 AM
Steelers notebook

By The Tribune-Review
Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Steelers quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple returned to work Monday at the team's South Side practice facility. How long he is with the Steelers remains to be seen. Whipple interviewed Sunday for the head coaching job at Boston College.

"He's excited about the opportunity," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "I think he would be a great candidate for that school."

If Whipple is offered the job and accepts, he would still finish the season with the Steelers, Cowher said. The Boston College job became available when Tom O'Brien left for North Carolina State, which is Cowher's alma mater. Whipple has strong ties to New England, and before joining the Steelers he was the head coach at the University of Massachusetts. Whipple coached the Minutemen from 1998-2003 and led UMass to the Division I-AA national championship in his first year at the school.

"He is a quality person, a good football coach and would be a great asset to any school," Cowher said.

? The NFL is still reviewing comments made by Joey Porter after Thursday's game against the Cleveland Browns, a league spokesman said yesterday. Porter, upset with Kellen Winslow after a hit made on linebacker James Farrior near the end of the game, called the Browns' tight end a derogatory word that questions a man's sexuality. A decision by the NFL to fine Porter probably won't be made until later this week, spokesman Steve Alic said. Cowher did not get a chance to talk to Porter over the weekend.

"I think his reference was more to what took place on the field than anything else," Cowher said, "but it was inappropriate."

Porter was fined $15,000 earlier this season for something he said to one of the referees during the Steelers' Oct. 29 game against the Raiders. His agent said last week that he didn't expect Porter would get fined.

? The Steelers and Carolina Panthers are familiar with one another. The Panthers beat the Steelers, 15-13, at Heinz Field, in a late-August preseason game, but very few starters from either team played in the game because it was close to the start of the regular season.

"We didn't play anybody," Cowher said. "If it's the third (preseason) game, then maybe there is some significance because you can go back and refer to physical matchups. The fourth one, there's not a whole lot you can take out of it."


Digits

0 - Games in which the Steelers have allowed a 100-yard rusher this season.

2 - Games in which Carolina starting running back DeShaun Foster has rushed for at least 100 yards this season.

18 - Rushing yards given up by the Steelers in last Thursday's 27-7 win over the Browns.

423 - Passing yards Panthers quarterback Chris Weinke had on Sunday while making his first start since 2002 for the injured Jake Delhomme.

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