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Notebook: LeBeau one of the deans of NFL coaching

Jerry DiPaola
| Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2004

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has been a coach in the NFL for 31 years longer than any coach currently employed in the league, with the exception of Steelers running backs coach Dick Hoak (32). LeBeau and Hoak have

been coaching longer than most league owners have owned their teams. "They don't count," LeBeau said, laughing. "Owners cant be fired." LeBeau, who is one of the most highly respected defensive coaches in the game, will celebrate his 67th birthday three days before the start of the regular season, but he does not see an end to his coaching career.

"I think the good Lord will let me know or coach Bill (Cowher) will let me know when it's time to hang it up. I'm just an instructor and I don't think there is any age limit on the teaching position. I dont want them to have to wheel me out there, but I enjoy what I'm doing."

  • Before practice, center Jeff Hartings passed out picture cards of himself to fans outside the locker room. It was faster and more efficient than signing autographs and one fan hollered, "You should be a politician." Maybe someday, he responded, on his way to the practice field.

  • Outside linebacker Clark Haggans met with reporters after he practiced for the first time Tuesday, but his most important meeting occurred later with Cowher. Haggans' pleadings won't work, though. Cowher has spoken: Haggans won't play Saturday against the Houston Texans. Haggans got the pins removed from his previously broken hand, and practiced for the first time this summer. "He did more than we thought he was going to do, actually. But we will be careful with him right now," Cowher said.

  • The Steelers are getting healthier, although offensive tackle Marvel Smith, guard Alan Faneca and inside linebacker Kendrell Bell missed practice with shoulder injuries. Cowher said Smith and Faneca may return today when the team holds two practices at St. Vincent College. Returning to practice were cornerbacks Deshea Townsend (groin) and Chad Scott (abdominal strain) and outside linebackers Nathaniel Adibi (hamstring) and Adrian Ross (knee). Also, defensive end Brett Keisel suffered an injury of his surgically repaired shoulder.


    123 The number of victories Bill Cowher has compiled in 12 seasons as coach of the Steelers.

    21 The number of all-time coaches with more victories than Cowher.

    4 The number of active NFL coaches with more victories than Cowher (Marty Schottenheimer, Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs and Mike Holmgren).

    2 Number of times Cowher has hit the deck in the backs-on-backers drill --one of his favorites -- during the first three weeks of training camp. Joey Porter got him previously. Yesterday, it was Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis.

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