Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher joined KDKA-TV’s Rich Walsh for a one-on-one sit down Monday to discuss the Hall of Famer’s broadcasting career, his love for Pittsburgh and the future of the franchise.
"You can take the people out of Pittsburgh, but not the Pittsburgh out of people." Former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher sat down with KDKA's Rich Walsh to talk all things Steelers, including the future of Ben Roethlisberger and the team. https://t.co/LU1iXAq5BK— KDKA (@KDKA) February 8, 2021
Fourteen years into his broadcasting with The NFL Today on CBS, Cowher is enjoying the “balance” in his life, and the fact that he now has a true offseason to spend with family.
Cowher originally stepped away from the coaching profession to focus on family, but things admittedly did not go as plan. His wife Kaye passed away at age 54 three years into his retirement. Cowher has since remarried and moved to New York full-time
“One thing I’ll say is I haven’t lost a game in 14 years,” Cowher said in jest.
Cowher also offered his thoughts on the state of the Steelers, saying he believes they are not that far off from making another appearance in the Super Bowl themselves. He compares Pittsburgh to the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, who no one believed would have won Super Bowl LV a year ago.
“I don’t think they’re that far,” he said. “I think you have to re-tool, there are some decisions that are going to have to be made.”
He says those decisions will ultimately come down to the Rooney’s and head coach Mike Tomlin, who are known to be calculated in their process.
“Dan did it, Art’s gonna do it, I’m sure Mike (Tomlin) will do it too, is you don’t make rash decisions right after the season,” Cowher said.
But Cowher is not naïve, recognizing tough choices are on the horizon for the Steelers organization, mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the NFL’s salary cap.
“All of a sudden you have this COVID year, and instead of the cap going up, it’s coming down dramatically, so consequentially there are going to be some tough decisions you have to make in regards to personnel,” Cowher said.
Lastly, Walsh asked Cowher if he believes Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can and should be back. The man who originally drafted the 38-year-old sees a return as a strong possibility, but admits the financial ramifications are tough.
“He’s done so much for the organization. I think he wants to come back. I think you can see that in his play this year,” Cowher said. “Can you bring everybody back? You can’t. You never can every year. So you have to sit down and make those decisions. Understand where you are.”
Cowher closed the discussion sharing his love for Pittsburgh, pointing out a Steelers helmet with the Super Bowl XL logo over his right shoulder.
“You can take the people out of Pittsburgh, but not the Pittsburgh out of people,” Cowher closed.
Rooney: Steelers Plan to Return to St. Vincent for 2021 Training Camp
There is plenty that remains up in the air about the 2021 NFL offseason, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still have plans to resume one of their enduring traditions that was broken by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The Steelers were forced to forgo their trip to the campus of St. Vincent College near Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 2020 due to the NFL’s rules regarding keeping players isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s unclear how much those restrictions will change for the NFL teams this summer, but as things stand as of today, the Steelers are still making plans to return to the Laurel Highlands for the team’s annual training camp this summer.
“As we sit here today, our plan is to have training camp in Latrobe,” team president Art Rooney II said to Steelers.com on Friday. “We still have a ways to go to get there, but I think there’s a pretty good chance that’s going to be able to happen. We’re still hopeful we’re going to have some form of offseason program, and it’s probably not going to start on time but I think it’s important particularly for the young players that we get back to having an offseason program and then a full training camp and preseason games. I think we need to have that to help the young players continue to develop.”
Displaced from their usual bucolic summer home and from UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side due to capacity limitations, the Steelers spent the 2020 training camp and preseason at Heinz Field.
NFL Network Analysts Call Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger 3rd-Best in AFC North
It appears that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is likely to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers, with both Roethlisberger’s agent and team president Art Rooney II making public statements that each party desires a return for 2021 this week.
But how much of a difference-maker will Roethlisberger be? That depends on his level of play this coming season.
NFL Network analysts and former NFL players Willie McGinest and LaDainian Tomlinson each ranked the quarterbacks of the AFC North and both said they think Roethlisberger is the third-best quarterback in the division, behind Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield.
“I’m not taking anything away from Ben,” McGinest said. “Lamar Jackson is special and I put Baker in front of Ben because of what we’ve seen in the progression of Baker the last couple of years. … I see him getting better and Ben fighting father time, with the skills diminishing just a little bit.”
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 25, 2021
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Tomlinson said. “We’ve seen, in spurts, Big Ben play well. He started out hot. But he didn’t finish so well. … He looked old and beat up toward the end of the season. I’m just not sure that improves.”
Statistically, Roethlisberger finished first amongst the four AFC North passers in completion percentage, but he was fourth in yards per attempt and third in passer rating and QBR. Pro Football Focus ranked Roethlisberger last of the division’s four starters in 2020.
NFL Head Coach: Bud Dupree’s Injury Cause for Uncertainty Entering Free Agency
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree is set to hit free agency in a matter of weeks, but one head coach believes he could be waiting a while to sign.
Speaking with FanSided’s Matt Lombardo, an NFL head coach, speaking anonymously, said Dupree’s season-ending knee injury has made his free agency outlook uncertain.
“Bud Dupree is someone that is a real question mark for me,” the head coach told FanSided. “If he was healthy, he’s easily the top pass-rusher hitting the open market, and teams would pay a king’s ransom to sign him. But, with him coming off a torn ACL, what exactly are you committing to? Does he want to go back to Pittsburgh? Who knows, but he’s someone that I think will wind up having to wait a while to sign.”
Lombardo compares Dupree’s situation to Tennessee Titans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney last offseason.
While he had not suffered a significant injury the season prior with the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks, Clowney signed with Tennessee on just a one-year, $12-million deal. He had been expected to be paid handsomely on a lengthier contract, which obviously did not come to fruition.
Clowney was virtually invisible for the Titans, recording no sacks in eight games before being placed on injured reserve in November.
Due to his torn ACL, Dupree could find himself having to settle on a cheaper, one-year “prove it” deal as well. Ideally he would then cash in during the 2022 free agency period is all goes as planned.
Dupree was having another stellar season before tearing his ACL in the Steelers’ Week 12 win over the Baltimore Ravens. He had eight sacks, eight tackles for loss, 15 quarterback hits and a pair of forced fumbles through eleven games.
After playing last season under the franchise tag, which paid Dupree $15.828 million, the Steelers’ dire salary cap situation will most likely prevent them from bringing him back. Still, the brass of the organization has expressed their desire to do so if circumstances were different.
While the knee injury remains a concern, Dupree shared he was ahead of schedule in his recovery when he joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football late last month.