Clark to start at safety
Ryan Clark and not Tyrone Carter will start at free safety, although Cowher said Clark did not win the job, necessarily.
"I don't know if Ryan won it as much as his demeanor makes him the best guy," Cowher said.
Clark was the only true unrestricted free agent signed by the team this year. He started for the Washington Redskins last season, then signed a four-year, $7 million contract with a $1.7 million bonus to play for the Steelers.
Still, the coaching staff made him compete with Carter. They split the starting assignments in the four preseason games, Carter going first. Rookie Anthony Smith also made an impression on them at the position during the preseason.
"I told the guys that the roles they have and what I'm asking them to embrace at this time are very important, that they take a very unselfish approach, but understand that those roles can change," Cowher said.
"The only prerequisite that I will take is to do what is in the best interests of this team to help this team win from week to week. That is the basis of all decisions."
Rookie wide receiver Willie Reid will open as the punt-returner. Cowher said he's not sure which two players will be deep on kickoffs, but strongly suggested Ricardo Colclough could be one. "He may also get a shot back there on punts," Cowher said.