Pittsburgh Steelers punter Josh Miller won't follow in Koufax's footsteps.">
Pittsburgh Steelers punter Josh Miller won't follow in Koufax's footsteps.">

Notebook: Miller to kick on Yom Kippur

<b>PITTSBURGH - </b> On Oct. 6, 1965, Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax did not pitch the first game of the World Series against the Minnesota Twins because the game day fell on Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement" in the Jewish faith. <br><br> Pittsburgh Steelers punter Josh Miller won't follow in Koufax's footsteps.

"Every game counts. I couldn't even think of doing that," said Miller, a member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. "I'm sure when it's all said and done, I'll have made the right decision by the end of the day by playing. My parents brought that up. Are you going to play?' Of course I'm going to play. They weren't mad."

Miller said that his duties are more unique than Koufax's and therefore he doesn't feel he can let his team down.

"If that was a one-game World Series, I think Sandy Koufax would've pitched," Miller said. "He sat out that day and went the next day. As heroic as that was - and I'm not taking anything away from him -- but I can't do that. I'm not in the same position as ol' Sandy."

COUCH TO START
Cleveland Browns Coach Butch Davis announced Wednesday that Tim Couch would continue as the team's starting quarterback in place of Kelly Holcomb, who missed last week's game because of a hairline fracture of the right fibia and a sprained left ankle.

Others on the Browns' injury list are cornerback Michael Lehan (hamstring) and tight end Aaron Shea (shoulder). They are listed as questionable. Listed as probable is wide receiver Dennis Northcutt (chest).

The Steelers have four players listed as questionable - wide receiver Plaxico Burress (hip pointer), linebacker Clint Kriewaldt (knee), tight end Jay Riemersma (shoulder) and tackle Marvel Smith (shoulder) -- and none of them practiced Wednesday. Of the two players listed as probable -- James Farrior (glute) and Todd Fordham (knee) -- only Fordham practiced. "(Plax) is doing fine," Cowher said. "I think James is doing fine. I think Marvel will hopefully do some things (Thursday). Jay may need one more day. We're hopeful to have them all. We'll see."

ROSTER MOVE
The Steelers released McKeesport's Russell Stuvaints from the practice squad and signed offensive tackle Morgan Pears (6-6, 325), a rookie from Colorado State who signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins and was released in August.

Stuvaints, a safety, was told he'd be back within a week.

ZEREOUE DEFENDS PREP COACH
Amos Zereoue is standing behind his former high-school coach, Kevin McElroy, who's currently under fire after a recent hazing/sexual assault incident at Zereoue's alma mater, Mepham High School in Long Island, N.Y.

"He's getting a bad rap, man," Zereoue said. "I mean, he got a couple of guys who decided to do something really silly and now he's getting the blame for it. If you know the type of coach he is, he's the last guy that would tolerate something like that."

Three Mepham seniors are charged with sodomizing three junior-varsity players with a broomstick, golf ball and pine cone while spending a week last August at Camp Wayne in Preston Park, Pa. After the charges were made, the school board canceled the season and parents began demanding the resignation of McElroy and the school's principal.

"It's unfortunate because I've known the guy for a long time and he's a great guy, a good family guy," Zereoue said. "I mean, I've seen his kids grow and everything. It's unfortunate because in every group you get a couple guys who are going to mess everything up for everybody and that's what he's going through right now."

Zereoue denied there's any tradition of hazing in the school's football program. Zereoue last played in 1994 at Mepham, where he left as the school's all-time leading rusher with 5,360 yards.

"No, not at all. I mean we've never had training camp," Zereoue said. "There's no tradition. A tradition like that? That's crazy. And he's the last person who would tolerate something like that. I'm not just saying that because he's my coach, but I know him, and if you know Mack, it's really shocking to me."

Jim Wexell
SteelCitySports.com

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