- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher said Tuesday that the Washington Redskins contacted him about the club’s vacant coaching position after Joe Gibbs retired in January.

Gibbs surprised Redskins owner Dan Snyder with his retirement earlier this year, and the club declined to say at the time whether it had talked to Cowher about taking over as coach.

On Tuesday, Cowher confirmed Snyder indeed called him before moving on to candidates like Jim Fassel, Jim Mora Jr., Ron Meeks, Steve Spagnuolo, Steve Mariucci and Jim Schwartz.

Ultimately, after a monthlong search, the team hired the offensive coordinator it already had on staff: Jim Zorn.

“We talked,” said Cowher, now in his second season as studio analyst for CBS. “It was a good talk. I was very flattered, but I expressed that it wasn’t the right time.”

The Redskins also had denied reports of conversations between the two during the summer of 2007, when Gibbs was still the team’s coach.

Cowher left the Steelers following the 2006 season with a 161-99 record that included the 2005 Super Bowl title and 10 playoff berths in 14 years.

Cowher said he has no plans to return to the sidelines even though at 51 he’s younger than 17 of the 32 current NFL coaches.

His daughter Lindsay signed to play basketball next fall at Wofford College in South Carolina. Her recruiting trip last fall to George Mason fueled rumors that Cowher eventually would land with the Redskins, who train at a facility in Ashburn, about 20 miles west of Fairfax.

The Redskins are 6-2 heading into Monday’s game against the Steelers, and Zorn is a leading candidate for coach of the year, so if Cowher does return to coaching next season it won’t be in Washington.

St. Louis, San Francisco and Oakland are all operating with interim coaches, though it appears the Rams want to retain Jim Haslett. Detroit, Minnesota, Kansas City and Cincinnati also could be in the market after the season.

Moss not concerned

Receiver Santana Moss isn’t worried his hamstring injury will slow him down against the Steelers on Monday, nor is he concerned it is connected to his previous leg injuries.

“Football brings a lot of stuff, and I don’t sit here worrying about things like that,” said Moss, who would not elaborate on the injury. “I just do what I do to get me right. I’m not going to worry about my stuff that happened in the past. What’s going on with me has nothing to do with me before.”

Moss plays nearly every offensive snap, but he hopes Zorn continues to allow him to return punts on occasion. He took his second return of the season 80 yards for a touchdown against the Lions.

“I told [Zorn] going into the season that I would like to be back there at least once or twice a game,” Moss said. “I’m not being overused. When you’re out there playing football, I want to be used enough to win the game. I don’t worry about how many more reps I get because those are more opportunities to help us win.”

Samuels expects to play

Left tackle Chris Samuels said the MRI on his right knee showed no damage and only minor cartilage irritation.

The 31-year-old was a late scratch for the Detroit game, but when asked whether he would play Monday against Pittsburgh, he said, “I’m thinking definitely.”

Samuels, whose streak of 71 consecutive starts ended against the Lions, even might practice later this week.

“I’ll talk to the trainers because I’m starting to feel a lot better, so I want to practice this week,” he said.

cRyan O’Halloran contributed to this article.

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