Cowher pleased with state of team

Bill Cowher had to love the weather for the run test that marked the beginning of Steelers training camp. All but a handful of injured players completed their 14 40-yard dashes at steamy St. Vincent College on Saturday.

Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: What did you think of the run test?

BC: It was nice. The sun came out and we had a little heat up here. I think the group as a whole did a good job.

Q: What did you think of Ben?

BC: He looked good. We dropped him as far as the speed a little bit. It was good to see him get out here and finish, get him running. He looked fine.

Q: What's your plan for Ben?

BC: We're just going to go, and then monitor things as we go. I think that's the best way to approach this. There's no more apprehension. The only way you can relieve that is to go out there and play.

Q: Will he play the first preseason game?

BC: We don't play one for 14 or 15 days. We'll assess all those things. I think we need to see where we are after a couple of weeks of work. I'm leaving it open for everybody. There are a lot of guys, not just Ben, that we're going to have to sit back and assess to see where they are and then make a decision accordingly.

Q: Good to have everybody in camp?

BC: It's good to get everybody back in town. It certainly was a hectic offseason for a lot of different people, and it was good to get everybody back. We talked a little bit about last year last night, but after that, the focus is on this camp, this group of guys and trying to recapture and establish an identity which you have to do every year. There is no easy way of doing it; there are no shortcuts in doing it. It's going to take a lot of hard work and sacrifice and an unselfish approach to their jobs.

Q: Is it good to have Santonio Holmes in on time?

BC: It's important for any young player, for any new player in a system because we have a veteran football team, we have a veteran staff. The more comfortable you can become in that system, the faster you can play the game. It'll be good to have him here and every repetition he can get on the field will be to his benefit.

Q: Any injury news?

BC: We're going to start out with Joey Porter and Walter Young on PUP, at this point. All the other players should be ready to practice in some capacity, barring any setbacks.

Q: What's Young's injury?

BC: I'll get back to you on that but it might be a foot.

Q: How's Joey's knee?

BC: We're just going to be precautionary, make sure with that. I want him ready for September and not hinder that by doing something stupid in August. Joe's going to be fine. He's a leader on our football team, and I like where he is. We'll monitor him day-to-day.

Q: Is Casey Hampton hurt?

BC: Casey tweaked a hamstring last week running for the test. I was surprised. He said he tweaked it. I didn't know he could run fast enough to tweak it. Casey tweaked a hamstring, as did Shaun Nua. We didn't think it would be smart to come out here and go through it. He should be fine and probably working tomorrow.

Q: Why did your family move to North Carolina?

BC: I don't think it's pertinent about my personal life. The fact of the matter is I'm up here and I'm coaching. For me to talk about my personal life, I think would be inappropriate. It's not going to affect my job at all. That's the bottom line.

Q: What was your opinion of the run test?

BC: I thought the group stood out, because of the heat. The field was wet and the grass is high because it's the start of camp, I was very impressed with the group as a whole. They all finished the test, which I thought was pretty important.

Q: Do you marvel at Ben's condition?

BC: It's just a blessing considering what could've been and when you looked at what took place. He's a very, very fortunate young man. It has had a way of putting things back in the proper perspective. He has a greater appreciation for life now. Anybody who looks at something like that, it's a life-changing experience. I don't think it's any different for him. It makes you appreciate every day you wake up and the things you've been blessed with.

Q: Should pro football players have the proper perspective about life?

BC: People in general should have things in the proper perspective, not just football players. Anybody who does anything with their bodies for a profession, whether it be a doctor with his hands or a football or basketball player who use their whole bodies, they have to be very careful with what they do because it affects their profession. When you look at something like that, it's no different than anybody who rides a motorcycle and they have that happen and they walk away from something like that, they're going to have an appreciation for life because you come really close to something that could've been tragic. Whether it's Ben or whether it's Joe Smith off the street, it does have a way of putting life in its proper perspective.


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