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NFL

Around the AFC

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 8, 2003


STEELERS

Beaten up during an exhausting comeback victory against Cleveland, Pittsburgh will limp into Saturday's game at Tennessee off a short week of practice.

Predictably, that's causing some short tempers -- especially that of coach Bill Cowher, who usually doesn't need an excuse to get worked up.

Unhappy the Jets are getting eight days off before Sunday's game at Oakland, as opposed to his team's six-day break, Cowher is using the NFL's perceived slight as motivation.

"For us to be handed a six-day rest and another to be handed an eight-day rest, I don't know where the justification comes in that, but so be it," Cowher said Tuesday. "That's the hand that's been dealt us, and we're going to play it out."

TITANS

The Pittsburgh-Tennessee game is THE game in town Saturday -- and the local NHL and college basketball teams are adjusting accordingly.

The Predators and Vanderbilt's men's team are changing the starting times for their games to avoid a conflict with the Titans' 4:30 p.m. start.

The Predators will play the Coyotes at 8:30 p.m., 30 minutes later than scheduled. Vanderbilt and fourth-ranked Alabama will tip off at 9 p.m. -- four hours later than planned.

Vanderbilt offered to pay the expenses if Alabama decides to spend the night in Nashville.

JETS

Defensive tackle Josh Evans did not take kindly to Raiders guard Frank Middleton saying that he'd been hoping for a rematch and that if Evans didn't like his blocking tactics in the last game, "He's sure not going to like it now."

"I'm looking forward to playing him, too," Evans said. "Oh, yes, I am ready. ... Tell him I am looking forward to seeing him. Tell him that."

Evans was irate after the Jets' 26-20 loss Dec.2 in Oakland. Evans said Middleton and Mo Collins were diving at the knees of the Jets defensive linemen.

"I like playing against Frankie," Evans said. "He's a dirty player. He can give it and I can give it, too. But I don't appreciate him diving at my knees. A punch here, a kick there, a slap there, that's cool. When you're diving at my knees, you're trying to take food off my table.

"As far as him saying I'm scared of him, I'm not going to get into a battle like that. He knows just as well as I know that we've got to play Sunday. All the talking will be over with."

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