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Collins, Cowher react to towel stomping

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By Scott Brown
Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008
 

Chris Johnson started celebrating before he crossed the goal line in the third quarter of Sunday's game. His 21-yard touchdown run put Tennessee ahead for good, but even Titans quarterback and former Penn State All-American Kerry Collins appeared to have mixed feelings about the rookie running back's show of enthusiasm.

"I come from the old school," Collins said after leading the Titans to a 31-14 win over the Steelers. "I don't think (Penn State coach) Joe Paterno would like that a whole lot."

The Steelers didn't either.

Nor were they amused when Johnson, who high-stepped into the end zone, took the hand towel that had been hanging from his pants and started waving it. Or when several players, including running back LenDale White and linebacker Keith Bulluck, got hold of a Terrible Towel and stomped it, as if it were a small fire, on the Titans' sideline.

"We won't forget it," Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend said.

Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, now a TV analyst for CBS, didn't like it, either.

About White's display, Cowher said: "You've got to learn ... I wouldn't do this, I wouldn't go there."

Referring to Bulluck, Cowher said the linebacker should know better because, "You are a veteran, Bulluck."

Bulluck, though, did not seem concerned.

"I don't care, I don't care," Bulluck told the media after the game. "That's just our stand. Anybody that's going to come through here in the playoffs, we plan to stomp them out."

The Titans, though, should beware. Sunday was not the first time an opposing player has disrespected the towel, which has become a Steelers icon.

Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh shined his cleats with a Terrible Towel during Cincinnati's 38-31 win over the Steelers in December 2005.

"We know the last time an opposing team played with our towel what happened," Steelers inside linebacker Larry Foote said.

The Steelers reeled off eight consecutive wins after that loss to the Bengals en route to the Super Bowl XL title.

They are no doubt hoping history repeats itself after the Titans' display Sunday.

Cowher told CBS viewers that if he were coaching and his team got a rematch against the Titans, he knows exactly what he would do.

"That looks like a pregame talk the night before to me," Cowher said. "If (we'd) meet in the postseason, I know what I'm pulling out the night before the game."

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