Teams Are In Relatively Good Health

Sunday, February 5, 2006

DETROIT, Feb. 4 -- The Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks head into their Super Bowl meeting Sunday at Ford Field with two rosters full of healthy players.

The teams had their final on-field sessions Saturday. The Steelers conducted a 20-minute walk-through in Pontiac, Mich., and the Seahawks had a half-hour walk-through at Ford Field.

Steelers Coach Bill Cowher indicated that he'd have all his players available. The Steelers had some nagging injuries during the week, most notably safety Troy Polamalu's ailing ankle and wide receiver Hines Wards's sore shoulder that caused them to miss some practice time.

The Seahawks had their players in apparent good health all week, and all of them participated in Saturday's walk-through.

Cowher planned to move his team from the hotel where it had stayed all week to a different, undisclosed hotel Saturday.

Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren decided to keep his club at the same Dearborn, Mich., hotel where it stayed all week. Holmgren spent the week saying he would do his best to keep his team's schedule similar to what it would be during a week in the regular season, and he didn't move his Green Bay Packers clubs on the night before the game when he took that franchise to two Super Bowls.

Going to the Dogs

Rick LeBeau grew up watching football and would love to be at the Super Bowl to root for his father.

Instead, the son of Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator will be dogging it -- with his two prize English toy spaniels.

"None of my family seems to understand," Rick LeBeau joked.

A baritone in the Pittsburgh Opera, LeBeau has been in the dog show business since 1989. He's taking champions Baritone and Robby to an event this weekend in Wildwood, N.J.

"The entry date was several weeks ago, before we knew we were going to the Super Bowl," he said. "Dad called the other day to see if I wanted a ticket, but I told him I couldn't go."

Dick LeBeau is coaching in his fourth Super Bowl and trying to win his first ring.

Let It Snow

Snow began falling here Saturday after a week of mostly mild weather. The forecast called for five to eight inches to have fallen by game time Sunday. High winds also were forecast, and the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning that lasts until noon Sunday. . . .

The ABC broadcast of the game and the pregame, halftime and postgame entertainment will be on a five-second delay, the Associated Press reported. Such delays have become commonplace in sports broadcasts since singer Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" exposed her breast during the Super Bowl halftime show two years ago on CBS. However, the delay reportedly is a first for the Super Bowl.

Charitable Owens

A year ago Terrell Owens was making a dramatic return from a season-threatening ankle injury and about to play before millions worldwide in the Super Bowl. This year he was performing before hundreds in a charity basketball event on the eve of the Super Bowl, without an NFL team to call his own.

Owens, a Pro Bowl wide receiver and infamous NFL bad boy, and potential 2006 first-overall draft pick Vince Young were the biggest names participating in the eighth annual Gridiron Celebrity Hoops game, which was essentially a street-ball exhibition at the University of Detroit-Mercy's Calihan Hall. The glitterati were all downtown around the waterfront congregating at various corporate parties, and not on this side of town, but Owens made quite an entrance anyway, arriving with agent Drew Rosenhaus, a personal assistant and two gargantuan bodyguards.

Owens, who wore No. 23 in further tribute to his idol, Michael Jordan, received a loud ovation when he cruised to the scorer's table to judge a pregame slam dunk contest, but not nearly as intense as the applause given to BET personality Melyssa Ford, star of many high-profile music videos. Owens was not doing any interviews and Rosenhaus also kept quiet, declining to comment on anything and everything T.O.-related or otherwise.

-- Mark Maske and Wire Services

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