And how exactly can the Houston Texans trade quarterback Drew Henson to the Pittsburgh Steelers with so many apparent roadblocks set up by the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement? ">
And how exactly can the Houston Texans trade quarterback Drew Henson to the Pittsburgh Steelers with so many apparent roadblocks set up by the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement? ">

Steelers end Henson speculation

<b>PITTSBURGH -</b> What is meant by the phrase "Initial League Year"? And can a player's rights be traded before he's signed? And can a bonus be agreed upon without it being agreed upon in writing?<br><br> And how exactly can the Houston Texans trade quarterback Drew Henson to the Pittsburgh Steelers with so many apparent roadblocks set up by the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement?

Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert didn't have any of the answers, but that in itself was the biggest answer.

"Maybe that tells you about our interest level," Colbert said.

And with that, Colbert admitted the Steelers have no interest in trading for Henson. Colbert also debunked rampant rumors he is seeking to trade wide receiver Plaxico Burress.

"No," Colbert said with the added emphasis of a laugh and shake of the head. "You may as well know before you ask upstairs."

Upstairs, Coach Bill Cowher addressed the media for the first time since re-stocking his coaching staff. He was asked about Henson, the former University of Michigan quarterback who left school after the 2000 season to play baseball for the New York Yankees and who's set to return to football.

"I know we have been invited probably along with 30 other teams down to Houston to see his workout," Cowher said. "We are going to look at all our options at this point. I think you are foolish not to. We will sit down and talk about it."

The Steelers will look, but they won't buy. They'll simply monitor his workout in case Henson becomes available at the right spot in the draft.

The Steelers have been linked to Henson since last October, when his agent leaked a story that his client wanted to play in Pittsburgh. And since Henson has terminated his contract with the Yankees, the notion has titillated Steelers fans. But Colbert made it clear that any move on Henson would have to be made during the draft. That will only happen if Houston can't find a trading partner.

Instead, Cowher hoped to interest fans in his new coaching staff, led by coordinators Dick LeBeau and Ken Whisenhunt. Cowher gave a brief thumbnail on each of his moves.

On LeBeau, the defensive coordinator: "He went up to Buffalo and was very instrumental. His involvement was very evident in some of the things they were doing. I am very excited about the opportunity to be reunited with that."

On Whisenhunt, the offensive coordinator: "We just felt that he was the right guy. He gives us continuity. It doesn't mean we want to change terminologies. We will certainly look at all the options in terms of philosophies. But I think he gives us the best continuity."

On assistant head coach Russ Grimm: "I know we have never had that title since I have been here, but I think not only do we recognize it here, but I think a lot of people in the league recognize the importance of Russ Grimm and what he brings to our football team. He has done an obviously great job with the offensive line, but he has been very instrumental in putting together game plans. I think Mike Mularkey would be the first one to tell you how much we have all relied on Russ and his input. I think it needed to be recognized. That is why he was given the additional title."

On tight ends coach James Daniel: "James has coached tight ends for the last seven or eight years. I talked to Dan Reeves and Dan Reeves had nothing but great things to say. He was with Dan Reeves with the Giants. He went with him down to Atlanta and has helped develop some pretty good tight ends in Atlanta, that is for sure. So we are very fortunate that we were able to hire him. There were a lot of other teams that were waiting to talk to this man."

On wide receivers coach Bruce Arians: "Bruce was a coordinator last year in Cleveland. I actually worked with Bruce in Kansas City. … He had other options, as well, but I think he was looking forward to staying in this division and playing against one team in particular."

On quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple: "I heard about him a couple years ago, and particularly before we hired Tommy Clements and had him on the list. He has been a head coach at Brown, and he has been at the University of Massachusetts and in 1998 they won the Division I-AA Championship. He has had very explosive offenses. Some people that I have talked with through the league have held him in very high regard. He has had other opportunities to come into the league. I just think we are very fortunate that the timing was such that he was ready to make the move."

On defensive backs assistant Ray Horton: "Having worked with Dick in Cincinnati and coming from Detroit, he understands some of our terminology and some of our defense."

On offensive assistant Matt Raich: "Matt moved in from working in the scouting department with Kevin (Colbert) and he will now be our offensive assistant and work with the quality control."

Cowher also provided a health update that included positive news about tackle Marvel Smith, who missed most of the season with a pinched nerve in his shoulder. Cowher said Smith has regained a full range of motion in his shoulder and will not need surgery.

Those who've had, or are in need of, minor "clean-up" surgery, according to Cowher, are Kendrell Bell, Alan Faneca, Chukki Okobi, Jay Riemersma and Jerame Tuman (shoulders); Kendall Simmons (shoulder and elbow); Jeff Hartings and Oliver Ross (ankles); and Jeff Reed (hip). All are expected to be able to practice by the end of coaching sessions in May.

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