Bill Cowher Speaks On Porter, and Cuts

<b>BILL COWHER</b><br> First thing I'm going to do is issue a statement in regards to Joey Porter, and I will field no questions about the incident and I will tell you what I can tell you at this time.

Last night, Joey, after going to the Colorado-Colorado State game, was at an establishment. He was an innocent bystander hit by a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting. A total of six people were injured in this drive-by shooting, one was shot fatally. This being a homicide, I cannot disclose any more information at this time.

He is currently in a hospital in Denver. The bullet entered his left buttocks and is lodged in his right thigh. All the tests are being done and at this time it looks as though the bullet did not hit any vital organs. He is resting comfortably in the hospital and we are in the process, barring any setbacks, of trying to fly him back here tomorrow. At that point we will do further tests and further information will be available as we get it. That's basically the situation with Joey, and like I said this being a homicide I'm really in no position to go into any further details.

The remainder of the cuts that were made today, we released Dante Brown, Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, David Upchurch, Khori Ivy, Hank Poteat and J.T. Wall. We also placed Brett Keisel on injured reserve. He had season-ending shoulder surgery today, so our final roster is set and we're getting ready to play Baltimore.

Bill, was Clark Haggans with him?
I can't go into any details.

Was it one bullet?
It was one bullet, correct.

Was it tough to cut Fu?
Yes. We're going in with four backs and a little bit of the fallback is Matt Cushing and his versatility, being able to play fullback. But I think it was very tough. He's been an integral part of this team since he's been here. I've shared a lot of experiences with him. He's one of my favorite players. But I think you look at where we are with Amos and Jerome and the emergence of Verron Haynes, at this point, where would he fit in on the field? It's a tough situation but that's where we are.

Any trade interest in Fu?
Yeah, we've talked with some teams but nothing materialized.

Did the injury cause concerns?
I don't know. You'd have to talk to the teams but there probably were some concerns.

Did the injury hurt him here?
It was a very competitive position coming in, so, yeah, it does when you get hurt like that. Other people get opportunities to play and they seize them. That's what some players did in a few of these situations that took place.

What are your thoughts on the guy you got yesterday?
Freddie Milons is a receiver from Philadelphia. The biggest thing is we like what he can do from a return standpoint. He's a young receiver; we liked him last year coming out. He does give you kind of a back-up for releasing Hank Poteat. The redeeming quality we felt with Hank was his return ability. We feel like Freddie can give us that as well as a young receiver that's still developing.

Kick and punt returns?
He's done both. We'll see. I think right now we still feel good about Randle El doing both, along with Lee Mays and Ike Taylor. We've had Deshea returning punts a little bit but if something happened to Antwaan I think Freddie could do it as an established returner.

If Joey can't play, who does?
Clark. Clark will move over to the right side and he's had a very good camp. That's why he's here. He's an established guy. I think he's a very good linebacker.

Will Farrior take his spot in the dime?
That's correct.

Was it tempting to keep Dante?
It is. He had a very good camp. But like you said, it was a very deep position. He had a good camp.

Was Keisel's shoulder worse than you expected?
Yeah. I didn't get a whole lot of good calls this morning. It was not a good day, but yeah it was the lesser percentage of what we were hoping going in. It was not good and they had to go in and reconstruct it, consequently it will be a three or four month rehab process.

Did you speak to Joe?
Yes I have. I think (he took) it as well as can be expected. He feels like he let the football team down. He was very emotional at the time. I talked to him and his wife. He begged me not to put him on IR. I have not.

How frustrating is it for you?
Ron, I think we should be very careful to pass judgment in situations like that. There are shootings that have taken place around our city as you're going to see and a lot of innocent people are getting hit. It's very unfortunate and it's the unfortunate part of our society. When high-profile people are in that situation it comes to light but unfortunately these things are happening daily and a lot of innocent people are having to suffer through it. As I told Joey, I'm glad we're having this conversation because there is one member who's not talking to anybody today. You've got to keep things in perspective.

Why does he feel he let his team down?
It's the nature of the feeling. I think anytime anybody goes through something like that - that's the type of person he is. He's a very unselfish individual and he's put a lot of effort into this season and to where we are. He was very disappointed at the time and probably very emotional at the time. I think that's very understandable. I wouldn't read into it too much.

Did you talk to your team about it?
No. I'll talk to the team tomorrow. The team was off today.

Is this the same feeling you had when you heard about Deon Figures?
Yeah. I don't remember how I felt then. Joey's going to be back. He's going to be fine. He's a special guy and he'll be back.

Do you think he'll play again this year?
I'm not going to go into that at this point. I think it would be too quick to make those judgments.

So you released Hank Poteat did you?
Yeah. You look at the three guys - Deshea, Dewayne and Chad - and we feel Ike has a lot of potential there and Chidi's been a standout special-teamer for us, that the numbers were more of a factor than anything. I wish him nothing but the best.

Who is the fourth corner?
It's between Ike and Chidi, maybe Chidi because of experience but I like a lot of the upside that Ike has.

Who's your right tackle?
We haven't made a decision yet in regards to that. Our ankles our doing fine. I did get some good news. They'll be able to practice Wednesday, so I'm looking for both Todd and Chris Doering to be able to practice Wednesday. Oliver will be out there Monday and I think Jerame will, too. We're going to do a light workout tomorrow. They'll be off Tuesday and we'll come back for a normal week starting Wednesday.

Inaudible question on Porter?
Right now they're doing a lot of tests and we're hopeful to get him back here tomorrow. There's no surgery scheduled.

How's his wife and was she with him?
She's here and she's doing fine.

Does this curb any enthusiasm at all for the opener?
We're family. Any time something like this hits a member of your family, um, I certainly think that, you know, I know Joey certainly would want this to be any kind of distraction and I don't think it will be. If anything it will draw us closer together and I think that's how you should respond as a family. And I think that him being an integral part of that, I think that's the kind of effect it would have on our team.

What's next?
There's a lot of tests being done and all the tests have been positive to this point in regards to any kind of damage to the organs. We're in contact on a regular basis. He just got done with one test.

We just want to make sure we can go out and fly him back tomorrow. That's the plan at this point and we'll go from there. Certainly the first 24, 48 hours will be important in terms of any bleeding or infection that can take place and that can be a seven to 10-day period, and that's barring anything else popping up. I think we'll have a lot better understanding of this in the next 24 or 48 hours.

He's in good hands. I'm an optimist. I liked talking to him and I think we all should be optimistic at this point. I'm just glad that we're able to talk at this point. He's very, very lucky. He's a lucky young man. I think that's the perspective we need to have at this time.

Has there been an arrest made?
No. I don't know. I can't talk about the incident.

How did you find out?
Phone call this morning.

Was it inside or outside?
Outside.

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