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83-Steelers-43 06-24-2007 06:09 AM

Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
Sunday, June 24, 2007

By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The story was bizarre, the reaction to it almost laughable. An Internet site reported last week that Bill Cowher has had secret talks with officials from the Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns to explore a possible return to coaching in 2008. You would have thought the world was ending, to listen to the talk shows and saloon conversations around here. How dare he? The nerve of the man. The Browns?

Get over it, Pittsburgh.

Cowher owes you nothing. He owes the Steelers nothing. What? You thought he wasn't going to coach again? You're naive and foolish. Darn right he's going to coach again, sooner rather than later.

And why not Cleveland?

In a lot of ways, Cleveland is the perfect fit.

That isn't to say Cowher has talked to the Browns. It's hard to believe he or his agent has spoken to any of the teams. He's too big in the game to have to sneak around to find out what's going on. He should have too much respect for the coaches of those teams to do that. Maybe he hasn't been in the position of the Redskins' Joe Gibbs, 66, a Hall of Famer who probably will retire for good after the coming season. But he has been in the shoes of the Browns' Romeo Crennel and the Panthers' John Fox. He, too, was a coach under fire during the '98, '99 and '00 seasons when the Steelers failed to make the playoffs and he was fortunate the Rooneys picked him over player personnel man Tom Donahoe in their little power struggle. He wouldn't have appreciated another coach sniffing around for his job then, would he?

When the time comes, almost certainly after this season, Cowher won't need long to find the right team. He figures to go to the highest bidder, the owner that's willing to pay him $8 million per year or more. Why not? This is America, right?

Cowher still would be coaching the Steelers if the Rooneys had come up with the jack. Forget the party line that he wanted to spend more time with his family in North Carolina. He won a Super Bowl and was insulted the team didn't offer him more in a contract extension. That's his right. It's also the right of the Rooneys, who don't overpay for anyone.

Neither side owes the other anything. Cowher gave the Steelers 15 great years. The team compensated him well. If anything, Cowher did the Rooneys a favor by not insisting on coming back as a lame-duck coach this season in the final year of his contract, which would have been a bad situation for everyone. He chose to walk away from about $4 million and sit out the season, not just setting himself up to become an in-demand free agent in January, but enabling the Steelers to get on to the Mike Tomlin era.

And now you want to begrudge Cowher taking his next job?

Wasn't it just a few years ago that so many of us thought he couldn't win the big game and would have loved for him to leave?

Even for Cleveland?

Any number of NFL teams could take a run at Cowher. It wouldn't surprise anyone if Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones fired Wade Phillips after just one season to make a pitch for him. Patience is running thin with New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin. The same is true with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Jon Gruden.

But the Panthers, Redskins and Browns probably make the most sense.

At least the Browns make sense.

Carolina would be convenient for Cowher because of his new mansion in Raleigh, but Fox might not be going anywhere. His five seasons with the Panthers have gone like this: 7-9, Super Bowl, 7-9, NFC championship game, 8-8. Do you see a trend? Fox and the Panthers are on schedule to have a big year.

Washington probably could pay Cowher the most, but does he really want to work for Dan Snyder? Talk about a culture shock after working for the ultra-supportive, ultra-patient Rooneys. Snyder has had five coaches since buying the Redskins in '99, Marty Schottenheimer among them for the '01 season. Do you think Schottenheimer might have a word or two of advice for his good pal, Cowher, about the job? You know, like, run the other way.

Cleveland really might be the best fit for Cowher. He was a Brown long before he was a Steeler, playing for the Browns from '80-82 and coaching them from '85-88. Cleveland fans would love to see him as their coach. They aren't as fortunate as you to be living here. Certainly, they don't know what it's like to experience a championship team. It's not hard to imagine Cowher getting it done for them, doing with Brady Quinn there what he did with Ben Roethlisberger here.


Get over it.

Edman 06-24-2007 07:29 AM

Re: Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
The hell is he talking about? I'm not scared of Cowher going to Cleveland. Let him be a loser. It'll make beating Cleveland much more fun again.

The problem is the fact that Cowher wasted the Steelers '06 season as a lame duck, kept the team distracted with his continuous dodging of his retirement when we all knew he was retiring. Mr. Cook never ceases to amaze me.

Atlanta Dan 06-24-2007 07:33 AM

Re: Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
If there is any doubt that baseball is dead in Pittsburgh, look no further than a P-G sports columnist writing 2 columns in late June about his votes for the all-time Steelers team and where the ex-head coach may next be hired.

The Pitttsburgh sports scene is like the Southeastern Conference, where the 2 major sports are football and spring practice.

83-Steelers-43 06-24-2007 07:41 AM

Re: Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
While I do not think Cook was pointing out anybody in particular (lol), there are crazy fans out there who will hate the guy forever if he decides to coach the Cleveland Browns. If some of the local sports call-in shows are any indication, Cowher might want to get in contact with the witness protection agency. Apparently, a good number of 'fans' have nothing else better to worry about in life.

I personally don't care where Bill Cowher decides to coach. If he wants to coach in Cleveland more power to him. That's his choice and his right. "This is America, right?". I wouldn't look at it as a slap in the face nor would it change my opinion of Bill Cowher. He gave us 15 years and a Super Bowl ring and he was paid nicely for his services. I wish the guy the best unless he's playing against us.

LarryNJ 06-24-2007 08:07 AM

Re: Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
Terrifying? ummm...NO!

I have no problem with fans hating him if he does end up in Cleveland. After all it is the Browns! Although I disagree with Cook, I think it will be ALL about money and where he thinks he has the best chance to win. Washington & Dallas will give him the most $$$ and what he precieves as the best chance to win another ring or 2. I'm guessing he'll end up with the Cowboys.

83-Steelers-43 06-24-2007 08:13 AM

Re: Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
Supposedly Cowher has made it perfectly clear that he wants complete control over the team (no surprise there), I don't see that happening/working in Washington or Dallas under either teams ownership. That's alot of ego. I can easily see him ending up in Cleveland or Carolina.

Black@Gold Forever32 06-24-2007 08:48 AM

Re: Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
I don't care if Cowher coaches again (which he will) or not.......I thought it was time for a change....But I have thought this since the Steelers special teams melt down against the Pats in the AFC title I think it would be funny to see him coach the Browns and blow AFC title games like he did with the Let some team overy pay for him to fall short in conference title games.....He was a very good HC and had a nice career in Pittsburgh....He did a wonderful job for the Steelers....But I will never let down his not so impressive record in AFC title games which five were at the "Burgh".

When I think of Bill Cowher.....I think bitter sweet memories...The Super Bowl XL win very nice.....His 2-4 record in AFC titles not so

LarryNJ 06-24-2007 08:50 AM

Re: Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
It is a big ego. $7 million a year with complete control...or $10+ million and an owner who will make it sound like he'll have it all. Dan Snyder & Jerry Jones are very good at getting what they want. If they both want Cowher, who looks to be the best option, they will be bidding against each other. There's no doubt Bill will become the highest paid coach ever. That will do more for the ego than control a football team.

83-Steelers-43 06-24-2007 08:59 AM

Re: Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
I hear ya Larry and it's definately possible, but I wouldn't put it past Bill Cowher to take complete control over more money. It's well known in these parts that Bill is a complete control freak. Just ask Donahue. If it comes down to getting paid a few more bucks from Dallas/DC over complete control of a Cleveland/Carolina team and still getting paid nicely, I think Bill would take the nice paycheck and the complete control. With some, ego and complete control is more important than more money. From what I have seen of Cowher, he's in that category.

Just my two cents. I guess we will find out in the next year.

duma 06-24-2007 09:09 AM

Re: Say it ain't so, Bill ... How dare Cowher talk to Cleveland
I think Romeo has 2 years left. Assuming otherwise, I doubt he goes to the Browns. Cowher is no fool, he wants to win and win early. If he goes to an AFC North team, he has two big (or 3?) dogs to fight. I doubt he would want that with the 'must win now' mentality that he will come in with.

Carolina and Washington sound like good fits. However, I don't think Carolina will be looking for a coach next season. My take is Washington. Snider has the cash, and he wants to win now. The Redskins are in the easy to win it all NFC, and this fits Cowher.

All that being said, if it isn't Washington, it will be another NFC team.

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