These guys are probable, but will work light today - Willie Anderson (foot), Bryan Robinson (foot) and Madieu Williams (thigh contusion). And then Ritchie Braham will be doubtful.
Q: Thoughts on Rich Braham's retirement:ML:
He's had a great career and a great run. He's one of those rare guys that have been able to play his entire career with one football team. And obviously he meant a lot to this team through his play, his toughness, his leadership in all his years, let alone my four years with Richie. So it's a tribute to him, and we will have a little ceremony prior to the game to officially announce his retirement. He just means a lot to the guys, to the coaches, and to the whole organization. He's going to have an opportunity to move on with his life, which is good, and hopefully do it without a limp. That's a good thing.
Q: You no longer control your own destiny in the playoff hunt:ML:
We don't worry about the playoffs. We're playing the Steelers. You want to talk about the Steelers? We'll talk about the Steelers.
Q: Watching tape of the illegal shift call at Denver, that nullified the TD, it's hard to see that two guys were not set:ML:
They called a penalty, so it's no big deal. It's not reviewable. We were moving and we got a penalty.
Q: With all the speculation that Bill Cowher might retire, what has he meant to you?ML:
Well, he's meant a great deal. Obviously, what he's been able to do in 15 seasons there with the Steelers is just off the charts -- the success, the teams, the players, the coaches. It will be a shame.
Q: Is that the main goal now, finishing 9-7 and 5-1 in the division?ML:
There are a couple things. To be 9-7, to have an opportunity to finish the season the correct way, to beat the defending world champions at a place where we ended last season. So I think all those are big things for us. To be 5-1 in the division is big because in order to win your division for the most part, you've got to win your division games. Now, we showed an ability to screw up some other ones up this year, but that's part of it. And we'll continue to learn and grow from that in the future. But this is a big football game for us. It's a home game. I expect the fans to be out in full effect like they've been -- to come out and just have a great Sunday. It's going to be a great afternoon with great weather. It's going to be Bengal weather. We're going to have some fun.
Q: Do you expect the Steelers to bring their A-game?ML:
There's no question about it. They went up to Buffalo when they had everything wrapped up a couple years ago and beat the Bills. They're going to come ready to play. We'll get everything they've got. So we've got to go be ready. It's going to be a big game.
Q: More on Rich Braham:ML:
I'll tell you what Richie means. Richie has not missed a Saturday night at the hotel this season. That tells you right there what kind of pro he is. So he's been there for his teammates. He's been on the road with us. He does everything. I had to tell him to quit answering the questions in the meeting. That's because of habit. That's what he means. He's still here early. He's still one of the first guys here every morning. That's what Richie Braham means. If Richie ever wanted to be a coach, he'd be a great football coach. I think he's smarter than that, though. In a nutshell, just the Saturday night thing to me is what being a pro is all about and how much you have invested in this team all the time. That says a lot.
Q: Can Richie play in the playoffs? Is it an option?ML:
It's not. It would not be. Once he goes thru his ceremony on Sunday, it will be done.
Q: What is it going to be like without Richie?ML:
We had to move on from Richie back in Week 3. That's the thing I've tried to explain. We don't worry about who's not here. We have to worry about who's here. I know it's difficult for the media and the fans to understand, but we have to move on. We don't worry about who's coming back. We've got to coach and get ready who's playing. When those guys can get back, they'll get back.
Q: Do you feel good about Eric Ghiaciuc as the future?ML:
We're not going to worry about the future yet. The future is Sunday. Sunday we've got to have Eric Ghiaciuc play his pants off, and play well, as well as our whole front group. It's going to be quite a challenge.
Q: How about Eric this year?ML:
Well, again, we're going to evaluate how we are at the end of the year and try and continue to develop what we do for the future. Eric's gone in there and we've held up. We've won football games that he's played in. He contributes. He's a tough guy. He's a very hard worker. He's all of those things Richie is. He's just got to gain the experience Richie had.
Q: Do these guys have troubling handling the big stage? Is that a maturity issue?ML:
We're not happy with where we are, but we are where we are. We've earned it. We can't blame anybody else. The stage is the same every week. The stage doesn't change for an NFL football team. Those 100 yards stays the same, and it's going to be the same.
Q: What lessons can you learn from this season that apply to next year?ML:
The hardest thing in the NFL is that everybody is in different situations. Hopefully they all have the same ultimate goal. But along the way there are other short-term goals, whatever they are. Hopefully, all those short-term goals can be worked towards that long-term goal. And those short-term goals and your personal goals don't get in the way of what the team goals are. Don't let your contract status get in the way of our football team. Don't let how much you play, how much you throw, how much you catch, how much you run, or how much you tackle get in the way of our football team.
Those are the maturity things that have to happen. Some guys have that because they've already been on successful teams. Some guys are just getting to that point, and they don't understand that. For some guys, just winning a championship is now the greatest thing ever. And then for other guys, it's just having an opportunity to get out there and play and beat my chest. But ultimately, that can't get in the way of the football team.
We sat here every Monday, and you guys questioned this and questioned that, 'Why don't we do this, why don't we do that?' And in the scope of the last 17 weeks, it all changes every week. That's the thing the football team has to understand -- they can't let all the outside effects, and everybody else's questioning - get into their psyche. Just keep playing. It's all going to even out. You're going to get yours. He's going to get his. We're going to get theirs. And if we all keep doing it, eventually we'll win the games we need to win and we'll be where we need to be. That's the thing that hopefully we keep growing and understanding about. That it's going to work out that way. It's not what you call. It's how you go out and play it. It's how you prepare. It's the same things we started saying back in January of '03. And it hasn't changed. And you know what? It's not going to.
Q: Is that what Carson and Willie meant about things have to change?ML:
Well, and I would think they'd look at themselves, too. Willie doesn't want to flinch. Carson doesn't want to overthrow a ball. It's not going to be 100 percent. But you know what? If we're close enough to it, we have a chance to overcome it when we're not quite there. And we'll have a chance to fix it a lot quicker. And you don't compensate for the last time. You just keep doing it. Expect the other guy to do it right this time. I don't have to change what I do based on the next play. And that's what happens. And then you end up stringing two or three bad plays together because you compensate.
Q: Consistency is what you're looking for?ML: