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Stewart handles change well

By DARRELL FRY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 1, 2002

Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart, who might get sent back to the bench today if Tommy Maddox is healthy, has played well while Maddox has been out, going 35-of-43 for 360 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

But Steelers coach Bill Cowher is more impressed with how Stewart has handled himself through the ordeal of being benched earlier this season in favor of Maddox, then playing well after Maddox was hurt.

"He has been the consummate pro," Cowher said. "You talk about being unselfish on a football team -- nobody has exemplified that more than himself.

"I think a lot of people should sit back and watch how this man has handled the set of circumstances that has been presented to him, because he has made the most of it. ... There is no question he is a very good quarterback, and he will continue to do so in the future with whatever role he has to play. He is going to be more pleased with not only how he has played, but also how he has handled himself throughout these circumstances."

TRIVIA QUESTION: Bengals running back Corey Dillon needs 52 yards today to become the fourth player in league history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. Name the other three.

YOU NEVER KNOW: Giants receiver Tim Carter still can't believe he was involved in a carjacking last week. Asked if he had ever been carjacked before, Carter, who is from St. Petersburg, quipped: "I never owned a car that was worth carjacking."

DID YOU KNOW?: The Bills have just five interceptions this season, four courtesy of Miami quarterback Ray Lucas. The league single-season record for fewest picks in a 16-game season is six.

STAT OF THE WEEK: The Cardinals, who have lost five straight, are giving up 448.5 yards a game during that stretch.

THANKS BUT NO THANKS: Legendary entertainer Bill Cosby, a huge Philadelphia fan, reportedly sent Eagles coach Andy Reid a humorous letter, offering to suit up for the Eagles in light of injuries to quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Koy Detmer.

"Realizing there's an opening," Cosby wrote, "I felt the adrenaline begin to pump. I ran down to the basement, pulled out my old Central High School leather helmet (without face mask) and shoulder pads, got the missus up, and with a whiffle ball, had her bending over and I took snaps."

He signed the letter, Bill "Go Long" Cosby.

A TEXAS-SIZE HANGOVER: The Texans have won three games so far, which isn't bad for an expansion team. The problem is what they do after they win.

The week after beating the Cowboys, they were destroyed 24-3 by the Chargers. And after beating the Jaguars, they were hammered 38-3 by the Bengals.

They face the Colts today after beating the Giants last week.

Another blowout?

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Just go home, sob a little bit, get over this and get ready for San Diego. ... And try not to watch ESPN."

Broncos defensive tackle Lional Dalton on what he planned to do after last week's overtime loss to the Colts.

MILESTONE APPROACHING: With a 300-yard passing game today, Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon will join Warren Moon, Dan Marino and Kurt Warner as the only quarterbacks to have nine 300-yard games in a season.

Said receiver Jerry Porter: "He sets the standard for getting 300 yards."

BLOWING OFF STEAM: If the Broncos bounce back from their narrow loss to the Colts, receiver Rod Smith might deserve a lot of the credit. After the loss, Smith delivered the postgame speech usually reserved for coach Mike Shanahan and apparently ripped his team up one side and down the other.

"No more needed to be said after he was through," cornerback Denard Walker said.

JUST A THOUGHT: It's still early, but are the Raiders the AFC's best team? After that four-game skid, they are getting back to terrorizing the league the way they did at the start (they blew out Arizona 40-21 last Sunday) and are in a three-way tie for first in the tough AFC West.

If they win the division despite a treacherous remaining schedule, they might become everyone's Super Bowl favorite.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Curtis Martin, Eric Dickerson and Barry Sanders.

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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