Steelers' Porter Accidentally Sacks Cowher

Tuesday, August 3rd 2004, 5:52 am
By: News On 6

LATROBE, Pa. (AP) _ Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter got his first sack of the season during a training camp practice Tuesday, leveling coach Bill Cowher.

Porter was lined up against running back Duce Staley during a blocking drill, with Cowher standing in as the quarterback. Once Porter shed Staley, he approached Cowher from behind and gave him a shove that accidentally knocked the coach to the ground.

The hit was unintentional and, Porter said, was the result of Cowher urging all players to go hard during even routine drills. Since camp opened Friday, Cowher has emphasized his players must be more physical and aggressive than they were during a 6-10 season.

``That's his favorite drill,'' Porter said. ``He wants us to compete real hard, whether it's one-on-one with the linemen or the tight ends and, especially, one-on-one with the running backs. He feels like we're supposed to win every time.

``I tell the other (line)backers, when you get a one-on-one chance with a running back in practice or a game, you've got to help the team out and make that play. That's why I go so hard at it.''

Porter realized immediately he probably went at his coach a little too hard.

``He normally knows I'm coming when we do this drill, but for some reason he had his feet set,'' Porter said. ``Once I saw him stumble, I was hoping he would catch himself, but once he fell I just had to laugh it off.''

Cowher, a former NFL linebacker, promised it wouldn't happen again _ even accidentally. The mishap occurred during the team's only practice of the day, before hundreds of spectators at St. Vincent College.

Asked if it was his first sack, Cowher said, ``It will be my last one, too.''

``I should have saw who I had rushing. I definitely let my guard down,'' Cowher said.

Afterward, Porter _ an All-Pro linebacker in 2002 _ realized Cowher now has reason to jump him if he relaxes even momentarily during training camp.

``He said if I'm going to go hard like that and hit him, I'd better go hard all day in practice,'' Porter said.