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Lewis salutes Cowher

Posted: 3 p.m.



No, Marvin Lewis isn't replacing Bill Cowher.

But on the day Cowher ended his 15-year run as Steelers head coach, Lewis saluted his rival since boyhood.

"I want to thank Bill for all he's done for me. It was a privilege to coach with him and against him," Lewis said Friday in a press release. "I wish all the best for him and his family with whatever the future holds."

Lewis, the McDonald, Pa., product who quarterbacked his Fort Cherry High School against a Carlynton High School team linebackered by Cowher, broke into the NFL in 1992 as a linebackers coach on Cowher's first staff.

The Bengals-Steelers rivalry reached the 38-year boiling point last season under both men when the Steelers knocked the Bengals out of the playoffs with a 31-17 victory at Paul Brown Stadium on the way to the Super Bowl title.

Cowher's final game turned out to be last Sunday at PBS and this time Pittsburgh eliminated Cincinnati from playoff contention in a 23-17 overtime victory, marking Cowher's 22nd victory against the Bengals in regular and postseason, his most against any team.

But Lewis didn't address the flood of speculation that has him taking the Steelers job, probably because the idea is so ludicrous.

Lewis has four years left on a deal with the Bengals that club president Mike Brown wouldn't let him out of to go to a division rival, if anywhere. Plus, the Steelers wouldn't pursue Lewis given the gentlemanly agreement and respect between Brown and Steelers president Dan Rooney.

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