Steelers Re-Sign Cowher, but Cut Struggling Lloyd
The Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday kept the architect of their team, but said goodbye to one of their highest-profile veterans.
Bill Cowher, the only current NFL coach to reach the playoffs in each of his first six seasons, signed a three-year contract extension through the 2002 season worth about$2 million annually.
“I’m just happy we’ve got this contract thing behind us,” said Cowher, whose .667 regular-season winning percentage ties him with Green Bay’s Mike Holmgren as the best among active coaches. “No one feels more uncomfortable talking about salary than myself.”
But while the Steelers kept Cowher, they released linebacker Greg Lloyd.
Director of football operations Tom Donahoe said the Steelers unsuccessfully tried to trade Lloyd, coming off two serious injuries in as many seasons.
Lloyd spent his entire nine-year career with the Steelers, but struggled to regain his Pro Bowl form after undergoing surgery for a torn patella tendon in his left knee in 1996.
Before he heads to his first training camp with the Buffalo Bills, former USC quarterback Rob Johnson has received a contract extension, reportedly a five-year deal worth $25 million.
The Denver Broncos received a double dose of bad news when they learned that defensive end Alfred Williams could be out of the lineup for up to six months because of an injury and 12-year offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman is retiring. Williams had surgery on a torn triceps muscle for the second time in less than five months on July 1.
Quarterback Ryan Leaf, the San Diego Chargers’ first-round pick, was fined $10,000 by the NFL for skipping a portion of a mandatory rookie symposium.
Track and Field
Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco took more than a second off Noureddine Morceli’s world record for the 1,500 meters with a time of 3 minutes, 26 seconds at the Golden Gala meet at Rome. The old mark was 3:27.37.
In other events, Marion Jones won the 100 meters (10.75 seconds) and the long jump (23-8 3/4), and Michael Johnson rebounded from his second loss of the decade in the 400 meters to win that race in 44.40 seconds.
Trying to decide if he should return next season, Detroit Red Wing Coach Scotty Bowman, 64, received good news when he learned he has no heart problems. . . . The Kings re-signed defenseman Philippe Boucher. . . . The New York Rangers have re-signed free-agent goaltender Mike Richter to a four-year, $21.8-million contract. . . . The Washington Capitals signed former Red Wing defenseman Dmitri Mironov to a reported four-year contract worth $11.5 million. . . . The Carolina Hurricanes signed former all-star defenseman Al Iafrate to a contract that with incentives that could be worth $3 million this season. . . . The Dallas Stars acquired center Aaron Gavey, 24, from the Calgary Flames in exchange for veteran center Bob Bassen. . . . The Red Wings reacquired right wing Doug Brown from the expansion Nashville Predators.
Tour de France
Germany’s Jens Heppner edged Frenchman Xavier Jan in the 105-mile third stage of the Tour de France, through Brittany to Lorient. Denmark’s Bo Hamburger took the overall lead with a fourth-place finish. Chris Boardman, who led after the first two days, was released from Cork University Hospital in Ireland, one day after a concussion and other injuries from a spill put him out of the race.
Kenny Brunner, the former Georgetown and Fresno State basketball player accused in May of attempted murder and robbery of a local junior college coach, and co-defendant Ladale Lunnie, pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment in Superior Court. Their trial was scheduled for Sept. 11. . . . Jesse Boulerice, a 19-year-old draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, pleaded innocent at Plymouth, Mich., to a charge that he took a baseball swing with his hockey stick and left an opponent unconscious and convulsing. . . . Chris Clevenger, a former Notre Dame football player, testified at Lafayette, Ind., that former assistant coach Joe Moore, who is suing the school for age discrimination, once punched him so severely that blood poured from his mouth. . . . Washington Redskin running back Terry Allen was released from a Georgia jail late Monday after serving four days of a 10-day sentence in connection with an incident in which he led state troopers on an early morning high-speed chase more than a year ago.
Six days after being fired from his driving job on NASCAR’s Winston Cup circuit, Todd Bodine signed with Team 34, whom he raced for last year, in the Busch Grand National series. . . . French Open winner Arantxa Sanchez Vicario entered the Acura Classic next month at Manhattan Country Club. . . . Carlton Johnson, an Albany Firebirds player who injured his spine when he tried to make a tackle during an Arena Football League game at Albany, N.Y., regained feeling in his extremities and preliminary X-rays were negative. . . . One of the bystanders hit by a car during a celebration of France’s World Cup victory at Paris died, Beaujon hospital officials said. . . . Clemson signed football Coach Tommy West to a new contract through the 2001 season. . . . Illinois State forward Rico Hill decided to forgo his senior season to play professional basketball.
* Randy Harvey is on vacation.