Expectations weigh heavily on Bill Cowher and the Pittsburgh Steelers as they open yet another training camp after losing the AFC championship game at home. They've done that four times since 1995 and they're getting tired of it.
"I think for the people who have been around for awhile now, I think we all feel like it's time," club president Art Rooney II said. "We've been close and we have to take that last step."
Rooney, like his fans, enjoyed the unexpected 15-1 regular season but not the way it ended again, at home, in the AFC title game.
"In our business, the bottom line is, did you win a championship? So that's still the way you measure your success by."
Replied Cowher, "No one wants it more than myself, our team and my staff."
The Steelers have the best record in the AFC since Cowher's first year as their coach in 1992 (130-77-1). Yet they are only 8-9 in the post-season during that time.
"I looked at the standings of something the other day," center Jeff Hartings said, "and saw we went 16-2 and I said, 'Man, I can't believe we won that many games' because you really don't have anything to show for it as far as a ring, and that's always the goal, that's what we're shooting for."
Wide receiver Plaxico Burress left as a free agent, as did offensive linemen Oliver Ross and Keydrick Vincent, linebacker Kendrell Bell and cornerback Chad Scott.
They have no major holes, but little depth at outside linebacker, offensive tackle and safety.
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I do agree expectations are very high. The organization, fans, and the city of Pittsburgh can almost feel that Super Bowl coming. I hope this is the year that we get the one for the thumb. I don't really think Kendrell Bell was that big of a loss. He was injuried most of the time. Don't get me wrong he is an awesome player when he is healthy, but his backup stepped in and did a great job.