If Bill Cowher steps down, he could not coach elsewhere in 2007 unless the Steelers granted permission, which is unlikely. He would be free to coach elsewhere in 2008. His statement yesterday could mean he already has decided what he plans to do and wants to wait until after the season ends Sunday to reveal his decision. -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers next coach could be on their staff. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and offensive line coach Russ Grimm, who also is assistant head coach, are considered the leading candidates. But the Steelers also may want to interview coaches who are not on the staff, such as Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. Another possibility is Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If Dennis Green's not fired a day or two after the Cardinals' season ends Sunday in San Diego, it will be a surprise to everyone. Not once has Green referred to any plans for next year, the final season of a four-year contract. That's because his firing must seem inevitable even to him. -- Arizona Republic

Dumping offensive coordinator John Hufnagel is a transparent move by Giants coach Tom Coughlin trying to save his job by showing John Mara and Steve Tisch he will shake up his staff next year if he stays. Coughlin needs to do much more than just sneak his team in as the No.6 seed to stick around. -- New York Daily News

Kansas City coach Herm Edwards has already made his mind up about one thing. Trent Green will be the Chiefs' starting quarterback in 2007. Trusty backup Damon Huard will no doubt be getting a few feelers after leading the Chiefs to a 5-3 record. -- Kansas City Star

Cleo Lemon will start at quarterback for the Dolphins on Sunday in the season finale against the Colts, a source said Tuesday night. -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Even though his team is 13-2 and has the best record in the league over the past 27 games (23-4), Bears coach Lovie Smith doesn't expect an imminent contract extension that would elevate him from the bottom of the pay scale for NFL head coaches. -- Daily Herald

Michael Strahan will be evaluated further by the Giants medical staff to determine if the injury requires surgery; the recovery time for that is usually in the 6-8 month range. -- Newsday

Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is involved in a $45 million lawsuit filed by Richmond sports agent Andrew Joel, according to a report published Tuesday in The Virginian-Pilot. The agent claims Vick reneged on an endorsement deal he signed with Joel Enterprises in 2001. According to the paper, Joel Enterprises signed to arrange endorsement deals for Vick just before he left Virginia Tech for the NFL. -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Falcons coach Jim Mora said he doesn't sense a disconnect between his embattled staff and his players. Mora senses the groundswell of discontent -- a fan group took out a quarter-page ad in Tuesday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution calling for widespread change in the organization, including the coaches -- that could cost him and his staff their jobs. -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Packers receiver Donald Driver (shoulder) was at practice but wasn't seen participating during the period open to reporters. -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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