Notebook: Ross explains decision

<b>LATROBE -</b> Adrian Ross had only three sacks in six years with the Cincinnati Bengals, but he had some issues with how he was being used.<br><br> The latest in a string of Colorado State linebackers to play pro ball in Pittsburgh said that was the reason he chose the Steelers on Saturday over the Bengals in what amounted to an auction for his services.

"I wasn't the guy out there on sack downs," Ross complained. "That was part of the reason I wanted to come here. Last year I played first and second downs. I came off the field when they passed the ball. That was part of the reason, and so I've got to get those skills back up. That's what I did in college with Clark and Joey."

Ross and Haggans were the starting defensive ends at Colorado State in 1997. At the same time, Porter was a back-up defensive end after being moved from wide receiver.

"He had stone hands at wide receiver," said Ross, who was asked if he could be more specific. "My junior year I had more sacks than he had catches. Put it that way," he said.

Ross had been considering an offer from the Steelers ever since Haggans went down with a pair of broken fingers. The Bengals, who'd terminated Ross' contract July 23, jumped back into the bidding after a run of injuries depleted their linebacking corps.

"Then it went both ways pretty hard, and I'd actually decided to go with Cincinnati," he said. "Then I called Joey, called coach (Dick) LeBeau and changed my mind after the conversations. They just told me what they felt about me. Cincinnati was counting on 'Oh you were just there and you're about to come back.' It wasn't really personable."

Ross said he's also been a big fan of assistant coach Kevin Greene, and of course LeBeau. "He's going to use everybody's talent," Ross said of LeBeau. "In Cincinnati, I felt I wasn't being used for what I could do.

"Cincinnati offered me more money, but it really wasn't about the money. I just wanted to play football and have fun playing. I felt I wasn't going to have fun there playing anymore, and I knew I'd have fun here. It'll be just like old college days, you know, being around my boys."

Ross said that at Colorado State, Haggans was part of a group called The Nerd Herd.

"That was his crew," Ross said. "They'd go around talking all day, running around wearing their pajamas to class, coming into the locker room with their pajamas on. It was The Nerd Herd. He was the ringleader."

"Everyone had their little crews in college and ours was The Nerd Herd," said Haggans. "It was a pack of us freshman."

Is he still a nerd?

"All day," Haggans said.

The Steelers also added another former member of the Detroit Lions when they signed defensive lineman Anthony Herron, a 6-3, 280-pounder from Iowa.

Herron played one game with the Lions during his rookie year in 2001. He spent the 2002 season on the PUP list and played last year with the Indiana Firebirds of the Arena Football League.

To make room for Ross and Herron, the Steelers released long-snapper Chance Pearce and rookie safety Yaacov Yisrael of Penn State. Ross will wear No. 47 and Herron will wear No. 65.

During the one-minute drill near the end of the afternoon practice, cornerback Ike Taylor grabbed the jersey of Lee Mays in the end zone on an incomplete pass from Tommy Maddox. Instead of calling a penalty, Cowher lit into Taylor and didn't let up until the next snap, which was an incomplete fade pass to Plaxico Burress on fourth down.

"You get tired and it tests your focus, tests your discipline, and that's when you've really got to push yourself," Cowher said later.

Jerome Bettis ran into tackle Marvel Smith on a downfield run and suffered a quad contusion. He could miss a couple days of practice. Chad Scott (abdominal strain) missed both practices yesterday and could be back Wednesday. Nathaniel Adibi pulled a hamstring in practice and Deshea Townsend strained his back. Charlie Batch missed both practices with a sore shoulder and inflammation in his knee and could return today.

The Steelers will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1979 championship season during halftime ceremonies of the Nov. 7 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Steelers, of course, became the first NFL team to win four Super Bowls that season. Other activities connected with the celebration will be announced as the game nears.

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