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Lure of NFL job entices Cowher

ERIE — Bill Cowher said Thursday night he misses coaching more and more every year, but he has no regrets after stepping down as Steelers' coach nearly four years ago.

"With every year, there becomes a little bit more of a void because you do miss it," said Cowher, before speaking to a crowd of about 2,000 people on the campus of Penn State-Behrend.

"But I had a chance these last few years to spend some very special time with the women in my life. For that, I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever for walking away."

Cowher's life after the NFL includes TV work on CBS, about seven speaking engagements a year — corporations, high-level executives and college students — and time with his family.

The latter became more important two months ago when his wife Kaye died after a bout with skin cancer.

Cowher's life revolves around his daughters Meagan, Lauren and Lindsay.

Meagan played basketball, graduated from Princeton University as the third-leading scorer in school history and was a teacher in the Bronx for two years. Cowher said she lives in Los Angeles with her fiancee, Kings hockey player Kevin Westgarth.

Lauren also is a Princeton graduate and was recently hired at a public relations firm in New York City. Lindsay is studying elementary education at Elon University, near the family's home in Raleigh, N.C.

"I am very, very proud of each and every one of them and the people they have become," he said.

A return to coaching remains on his mind, but it does not consume him, he said.

"I am not going to go back into coaching, just to go back into coaching," he said. "It has to be the right situation. And I don't know what the right situation consists of."

Cowher said he has been approached by NFL teams seeking a new head coach every year since he retired from the Steelers.

"But I never got too far into it," he said.

Cowher also spoke on several other topics:

» On his recent conversations with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and whether Cowher believes he has changed his lifestyle:

"You know what• I really believe he understands the responsibility that goes with, not just being an NFL player, but being a leader on the football team and a leader in the community and, really, what your legacy needs to be.

"It is not going to be so much what you accomplish but the people you are able to influence along the way. I think he understands it.

"But only time will tell. There are no words he can say, no actions he can do to win people over immediately. Time will be the greatest thing for him in terms of allowing people to realize that he has learned from his poor judgement and become a better person."

» On the Steelers' 2-0 start:

"I wouldn't say I am surprised, but I am impressed. If Ben comes back and they stay healthy, my gosh, is there a better team in football. They are the best defensive football team, without a doubt. They are looking, potentially, at home-field advantage (in the playoffs), if they stay healthy."

» On the Steelers' offensive line:

"They have taken some hits there. If you can get Max (Starks) to come back and stay healthy and Trai Essex is nursing something. Flozell (Adams) is about two years younger than me."

» On if HBO asked him, while he was with the Steelers, if he would allow the team to be a subject on its "Hard Knocks" series:

"I couldn't say no fast enough."

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