Steelers lose a linebacker

PITTSBURGH – The Steelers had their first practice Wendesday after Sunday's 23-20 loss to New England. Following the session, head coach Bill Cowher met with media and dropped a bomb regarding one of his linebackers.

Opening statement: The first thing I'd like to report is that we have an injury update. Clark Haggans - I don't want to go into specifics - injured his groin in the game. He went to a specialist in Philadelphia. He had surgery on his groin. He will miss approximately five weeks and four games. That's the initial diagnoses, that could be give or take a week. Really, with what we thought initially, that's probably good news considering what we were concerned about the past couple of days. The surgery was done this morning and he'll be back in Pittsburgh tomorrow. We don't plan on making any roster moves per se. We're encouraged by the fact that he'll be able to come back and join us. Jamess Harrison will step in at the left outside backer and take his place. That's really the only significant injury that we got out of the game. We had some guys who sat out today who will sit out tomorrow, but that's more a precautionary standpoint. We hope to have everyone available for the San Diego game.

Q: Was that injury an aggravation of something he did a few weeks ago?
BC: I don't want to get into specifics. He felt fine. He's had it, but he did it on the second to last play of the game.

Q: He fell down on the sideline at the end. He said that was a cramp. Was that a cramp or was that the groin?
BC: I don't know the specifics.

Q: Coach, Hines (Ward) came off the field as well and they taped him up and put him back in. Is that a hamstring pull?
BC: Like I said, there are some people being held out from a precautionary standpoint, but we expect to have them for San Diego. I will give you an update next week as we get closer to the game.

Q: How valuable is a guy like James Harrison in this situation?
BC: He has stepped in and performed at a very high level. He stepped in last year for Clark at the end of the season and he certainly stepped in for Joey (Porter) as we all remember in the Cleveland game last year. He's a very valuable member of our football team. Obviously having the scenario that we have, it's nice to have a player with experience like that who can play at the level he can.

Q: This has to be tough for Clark too because he's been playing well.
BC: Probably his best game since he's been a Steeler the other day. He played his tail off and made a lot of plays. He had a sack and caused two fumbles. He really had a super game the other day. It's a tough situation for him, but I'm just encouraged by the fact he's gotten it taken care of and we'll get him back this year.

Q: Can (Andre) Frazier play on either side?
BC: We'll move him to both sides. That's something that where we are with the bye week, we'll have an opportunity to work him on both sides as the next guy.

Q: Jerome (Bettis) got to work a little today. He looked frisky.
BC: Yeah, he's ready to go. He got out there and had a chance to work a little. It's encouraging and we had Duce (Staley) out there. It's encouraging to get some of these guys healthy at that position.

Q: Would you anticipate because Willie (Parker) has done so well, making a change there?
BC: Willie's done a good job and I don't anticipate changing Willie. Certainly we're going to have to sit down and see how the rest of the mix plays out. It's a tough situation. We've got a lot of quality backs. They're all good in their own styles. It's going to be hard to keep them all involved. Hopefully, they'll understand the situation and, as I've told this football team before, we're going to need everybody through the course of the season.

Q: Do you get back to basics this week or do you begin preparing for San Diego?
BC: No. We'll have plenty of time next week, so it's more about fundamentals and some competitive things out there so we stay sharp. We'll work tomorrow and then they're off for the weekend - Friday Saturday and Sunday. Then we'll come back Monday, off Tuesday, and come back at it Wednesday.

Q: The whole clock thing, is that dead in your mind now?
BC: That's really a non-issue. At the time it happened, obviously nobody saw it. So much football was left to be played. Even on the field goal they kicked to make it seven, I think they kicked it with 3:21 left. If there's less time than that, I probably call timeout after that third down play. There's 30 seconds right there that they ran off just with that play that we stopped them on the screen pass that Ike (Taylor) made the tackle on. I let it run to 3:21, knowing that we had three timeouts left and that we could move the ball down. If it was under three minutes, I would have used a timeout to save the time. Maybe it's 20 seconds, I don't know. Who's to say what happens with the rest of it. It was what it was. We all played the same scenario. The bottom line is we didn't get it done and they did. I don't think the clock was an issue at all.

Q: Are you surprised it happened at home?
BC: I'd like to think that home or away, the people who operate the clocks are hired by the league. I don't think it's a home or away issue. It was an oversight, a mistake. It happens. I don't think it had any bearing on the game. I truly believe that.

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