We'll go ahead and start with the injury guys. We'll list Richie Braham as out, Dexter Jackson as out, A.J. Nicholson as out, Tab Perry as out. And Tab Perry's injury is a hip injury. So he'll be on crutches for a few weeks to let that thing calm down, and go from there. Antonio Chatman will be doubtful. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is questionable, and then the other guys will be probable: Levi Jones, Sam Adams, and Brian Simmons. So I think all in all we're more injured than we've been, but we'll be fine. Some of these guys will be getting back. There's an opportunity for T.J. to be back. Levi (Jones) should be back and playing, so we gain a couple guys and go from there
Q: It's a long injury list, so do you just point to your younger guys and say, 'This is why you're on this team'?ML:
That's exactly it. The most important thing is: Now you get an opportunity. You've been looking at me with that long face on Sunday mornings. Now, it's your chance, babe. I think we've already embraced that with guys, the way they were around here last night and yesterday afternoon. I think they sense their opportunity would be here - the opportunity to step up and have to play and get themselves mentally prepared as far as looking at the opponent and getting ready that way. That's already taken place.
Q: Is there a chance Reggie McNeal could return kickoffs?ML:
There's a chance.
Q: Do you embrace the notion of a rivalry or downplay it?ML:
That was one of the questions they (Pittsburgh media) asked me. I think in the NFL today, with the proximity of cities, there's some rivalry. I think this is one. I was talking with Mike McCarthy of Green Bay. I think the Bears and Packers, they have a rivalry. But as I've said, the only way you have a rivalry is if you win some of the time. You've got to be able to win, to go back and forth. That creates a rivalry. But I think obviously this is one. We've got Dick LeBeau, who was the head coach here, and who coached here and coached there. Myself, who grew up there and coached there. And obviously, they're the World Champions. So that makes it a rivalry right there.
Q: Bill Cowher borrowed the "Who-Dey" cheer, and he wrote it off as imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. How did you take that?ML:
Well, actually, I didn't really get to see it. And they asked me that question. I heard about it. But the time after the game is an emotional part. You've been in there grinding, and I'm sure it was something that probably their players picked up on, just like our guys picked up on the Terrible Towel. There's nothing to that. It's a great tradition here, just like the towel is over there. And other places we go, you see these traditions. I don't think it's a big deal. The game is played out there between those 100 yards, and that's really what matters.
Q: Players said you showed them the tape of Cowher's "Who-Dey" cheer and some of them said they chuckled:ML:
They've seen it. We do a lot of different things every morning, so we have some fun.
Q: Willie Anderson said the Bengals-Steelers games are manhood games:ML:
Well, you know it's going to be a physical football game. When we go up there, it's old-fashioned football. It's on the grass, in the dirt, sweat, you know. That's the way it's going to be. We know that you've got to be able to run the football against them, and they're going to try and run the football against us. So I think it comes down to that, particularly the play up front. We know that we're going to pressure them. I think for a guy that plays in the front seven, this kind of game is a physical football game and that's the way it's going to be. Now we're trying to get those other guys to understand it takes 11 total guys. In order for us to be successful, it takes all 11 guys to come with that mindset, and play for 60 minutes with that mindset.
Q: How did the visit go with the Commissioner?ML:
Well, I think it was great. I'm glad that Commissioner Goodell came in and had an opportunity to address our players. I think it's great for them to have the opportunity to see him, meet him that way, and have him convey his thoughts of how everyone's in this together. It's for the good of the league.
Q: How is Rudi Johnson better this year?ML:
He was running through tackles last year, where maybe he's making people miss a little bit more right now. He really was tough to fight through what he fought through last year (nagging knee injury that was scoped after the season). And he did a fine job by getting himself mentally prepared every week, and physically prepared. I think that's the biggest thing. He has completely gone overboard on what he's doing now as far as health, which is amazing. He meets with the nutritionist every week, and he has his own special meals prepared here. It's great to see somebody embrace it, just like we've had guys embrace the stretching, the Pilates, and the things like that. All the hard work that he put in with Chip Morton and Ray Oliver, you see it come into fulfillment there.
Q: Do you see it with Rudi in the late stages of games?ML:
I don't know that there's been a difference in him in the late stages of games. So I can't tell that.
Q: Thoughts on Kelley Washington:ML:
I think Kelley's in a little different situation. Kelley all the time has had an opportunity to play quite a bit here. I don't think that has changed. He had a few games last year where he was inactive, but he knew coming into the season his opportunity would come if he would continue to fill the role on special teams. He's basically been a starting player now for the first two games, and it's been great. Every offseason, Kelley comes back here and becomes a better player than when he left us. He's got an internal drive and fire, and he's very competitive.
Q: Is Eric Ghiaciuc starting in place of Rich Braham?ML:
Q: Thoughts on the email sent by Lindsey Pollack:ML:
The email was not meant to be public, OK? And the young lady made that very clear. It was not meant to be public nor posted. It's unfortunate it went through that way. That's why she made the statement that she made to me. She apologized. It was not meant to be. You guys have to understand that these guys have rights. These things are family matters. I don't know that certain things need to be public knowledge. I know you have a job to do, but they also have protection of their own rights, and sometimes we need to be a little bit aware and conscious of those things, too. It's unfortunate that's the way it is, but the best thing is we'll just move forward with David and hope for a speedy recovery. She's OK now, and upset that it had to go through that way.
Q: What happens when you go home to McDonald, Pennsylvannia? Do you sense that the rivalry is there too?ML:
I think it's about 50-50 over there. It's good.
Q: As important as Troy Polamalu is to Pittsburgh, is Madieu Williams just as important to Bengals?ML:
I think Madieu is important to our defense. I can't tell you the percentage that Troy is to theirs. I know that Madieu is an important player for us.