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Cowher Joins CBS As Studio Analyst

Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher will be an analyst for CBS on the network's "The NFL Today" studio show next season.

Cowher resigned as the Steelers' coach last month following 15 seasons, and less than a year after winning the Super Bowl. He plans to spend more time with his family at their new home in Raleigh, N.C., but said working on the Sunday program allows him to keep his ties to the league.

"I can still be part of it but not have it consume your life," Cowher said Thursday, speaking on a conference call.

Cowher sent mixed signals as to how long he plans to stay away from coaching.

Initially, he said, "It's an opportunity to stay busy on Sundays and it may go beyond this year." Later in the call, he said, "I'm planning on doing this for a couple of years."

However, he would not officially commit to appearing beyond one season, saying, "It's an opportunity to remain a part of the NFL, and it may go a lot longer than that."

Cowher doesn't expect to have any problems critiquing or criticizing his former team, saying it would be no different from doing so along the sideline.

"I'd be doing it if I were coaching," he said. "Willie Parker is a good running back but if (he fumbles), he knows he would be standing next to me on the sideline."

CBS is adding Cowher to the show without any of the other analysts leaving _ Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe and Boomer Esiason will return, as will host James Brown and former NFL general manager Charlie Casserly.

"It will be like a bye week every week," Cowher said of working Sundays in a studio rather than in a stadium. He will commute each weekend from Raleigh to New York.

When he left the Steelers on Jan. 5, his agents contacted the networks that carry NFL games to gauge their interest in hiring him. Cowher felt it was a natural transition to sign with CBS, which carries AFC games, and he had a tryout of sorts with the network during its Super Bowl telecast on Feb. 4.

Cowher also said he is disappointed with the San Diego Chargers' firing of coach Marty Schottenheimer, his friend and mentor. Cowher was Schottenheimer's defensive coordinator in Kansas City before his 1992 hiring by Pittsburgh.

"It was unfortunate ... the timing (was bad) for both parties because all the other jobs are filled and Marty won't have the opportunity to coach next year," Cowher said. "But it does mean I've gained a golfing partner this spring."