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Steelers Steelers Report: 9/27/01

Thursday, September 27, 2001

By Ed Bouchette, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

LOOKING AHEAD

Steelers (0-1) at Bills (0-2), 1 p.m. Sunday, Ralph Wilson Stadium. TV: KDKA. Radio: WDVE-FM (102.5) and WBGG-AM (970).

NOTEBOOK

Buffalo OG Ruben Brown doesn't expect any Bills to go after Steelers DE Aaron Smith on Sunday.

Smith drew a 15-yard penalty and the wrath of QB Rob Johnson when Smith sacked Johnson and pulled his helmet off in the process by grabbing his facemask Aug. 30 in a preseason game at Heinz Field.

"We'll remember that play," Johnson huffed afterwards.

Apparently not. Asked if they had anything planned for Smith, Brown said, "To get him blocked, mainly. It is going to be clean. We are going to play hard. It is going to be a hard game.

"Our guys know that over the years the Buffalo-Pittsburgh games have been probably one of the hardest-hitting games on TV during the regular season. I don't think it is going to be any different."

Smith said he pulled off Johnson's helmet inadvertently.

"That's part of the game. I just come to play hard. If he misinterpreted it, I'm sorry for that. It was nothing intentional."

Smith has the Steelers' only sack after one game. He had three in the four exhibition games and four last season, his first as a starter. The Bills have allowed nine sacks in two games, which prompted a question to Brown about what the problem might be.

"We got too many of that," Brown said. "That is the problem."

Brown and Bills backup QB Alex Van Pelt, who both played at Pitt, wanted to attend the Panthers' game against Miami at Heinz Field tonight.

"With the air trouble, we were going to fly a private plane down," Brown said. "But the guy can't get any flight time. Alex Van Pelt and I are going to watch the game, as we do every year when Pitt is playing."

Chad Scott practiced yesterday and likely will return to the starting lineup at left cornerback in Buffalo, which means Deshea Townsend will play only when the Steelers go to their dime passing defense. But WR Plaxico Burress, who goes against every Steelers defensive back in practice, gave Townsend high praise yesterday.

"Deshea is probably the best cover corner I ever played against," Burress said. "That's even in practice."

Scott missed the opening game in Jacksonville with a sprained right knee. He returned to practice last week, but the knee was re-injured and he was listed as questionable this week. He likely will be upgraded to probable today or tomorrow.

S Lee Flowers wasn't guaranteeing anything, just telling how he feels.

"Whatever it is, whatever it takes, we're going to win this game," Flowers said.

Like most defensive backs who go up against Buffalo, Flowers will be on the lookout for WR Eric Moulds. But he's not worried so much about his receptions as he is his blocking.

"His job is to keep me out of the box, keep me from making tackles inside the box," said Flowers, who praised the big receiver's blocking ability. "If he doesn't do that, I'm going to have a good day."

The 7-year-old son of former Steelers offensive lineman Ariel Solomon died Monday after he was thrown off the back of his father's motorcycle Sunday night.

Dakota Solomon died in Denver's Children's Hospital. Solomon's Harley-Davidson rammed the back of a car at a red light, police said. Solomon, 33, was treated for minor injuries. The Steelers drafted him on the 10th round from Colorado University in 1991, and he played for them through 1995.

Steelers Coach Bill Cowher elaborated a tad more to writers in Buffalo yesterday when the question was put to him about Tom Donahoe, his former boss with the Steelers before their falling out in 2000. Donahoe is now president and general manager of the Bills.

Cowher, on a conference call, told the writers in Buffalo:

"I think it was a situation that's in the past and I'm more interested in talking about where we're at. I know that he's a fine man, he's good at what he does. They're trying to build something in Buffalo just like we're trying to re-establish ourselves down here."

On Tuesday, when Cowher was asked at his press conference here if the game meant anything extra to him because of Donahoe, he answered with a simple, "No."

Moulds and OTs John Fina and Jonas Jennings did not practice for the Bills yesterday. Former Steeler Kris Farris worked at LT.

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