Thursday Afternoon Report

LATROBE -- Bill Cowher once again gave the day off to his 10 eight-year veterans. Too bad he couldn't have given the reporters with eight years of experience the day off as well. But WHO CARES about your problems?

OK, today was some of the worst quarterbacking we've seen since then-rookie Tee Martin went head-to-head with Kent Graham two summers ago and had the women and children fleeing from the hospitality tent. Martin -- who took to wearing a t-shirt reading "Dead Man Walking" at lunch today -- was bad. I feel sorry for this kid and the booster-related mess he's in at Tennessee.

The papers there are going crazy. One of them paid me $100 bucks to ask him one question. He went on and on and the Knoxville News Sentinel used it big. Whatever. But Charlie Batch also looked bad today. I believe his thumb's hurting him after banging it on a helmet a couple of days ago. With Martin and Batch -- and not Tommy Maddox -- playing in reserve Sunday night, I absolutely would NOT bet on the club.

Here's some longshot updates: James Harrison, as Dale and I learned last night, has no chance to make the team, even though Tim Lewis likes his toughness and Bill Cowher likes his demeanor. Apparently, Harrison "just doesn't give a shit," as one rookie put it. He's also late for everything. And he's mean, man. I asked Cowher if Harrison was mean to him and Cowher just laughed. He won't make the practice squad either because it's not only for developmental projects. This guy -- whom Dale calls Shaft -- rocks people, and could be a nice project, but the practice squad is for just that: practice. They can't put up with people blowing off assignments, meetings or even practice. So, Harrison's chances are dropping significantly. Cowher raved today about Nijrell Eason and I continue to hear great things about Erik Totten.

Away from the longshots, word is that James Farrior could officially be named the starting buck backer next week. No surprise, but that's the word.

-- Jim Wexell

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