Is the man who gave us the jutting jaw, the foaming-at-the-mouth tirades and the Josh Miller ear-beatings going Dick Vermeil on us? Could it be that the modern-day Bill Cowher is kinder and gentler entering his 14th season as the Steelers' head coach?
Yes ... No ... Perhaps.
In publicly discussing Joey Porter's knee injury, which appears to have occurred after the linebacker stomped his foot upon winning a pass-rush drill, Cowher defended the Pro Bowl veteran for his passion and love for the game.
That's not to suggest that Cowher didn't have choice words for Porter behind closed doors - "What I say to (the media), is not always what he and I discuss," Cowher said. - but he was supportive Thursday morning.
"Joey hurt his knee playing the game of football," Cowher said. "If something like (the stomping celebration) is what prompted it, it was going to happen anyway. The game of football is a lot more violent than jumping up and down and stomping on the ground."
Porter sustained the injury (loose cartilage that will keep him out a month) during Tuesday afternoon's practice at St. Vincent College. Porter had been beaten in a one-on-one pass-rush drill by free-agent tackle Ulish Booker, prompting the linebacker to challenge Booker again.
"I was working on a new move," Porter said, explaining why Booker had defeated him.
Porter and Booker lined up a second time and Porter blew by the big lineman. The two went at it one more time, and Porter faked outside. He then twisted back inside and easily got by Booker.
Porter celebrated by stomping his feet in a marching motion, then finishing with one final stomp. Moments later, he walked off the field and plopped down on a water cooler. He did not return to practice and underwent surgery the next day.
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