Expect Bill Cowher to take no more than seven days after the season ends Sunday to make a decision about his future, writes ESPN.com’s John Clayton. Although most people believe he will step down as the Steelers coach, no one knows for sure. It’s not the money. Word is Cowher can get close to $6.5 million toward the end of a contract extension if he wants it. His lack of enthusiasm this season indicates maybe he just needs a break. He’s been at it for 15 years and his family is now in North Carolina. The good news is Cowher’s professionalism. He will make a decision quickly after the Bengals game on the 31st. Some beat writers including Ed Bouchette have indicated a decision could be made as early as next Tuesday

The Steelers are expected to hire Cowher’s successor from inhouse don’t discount the Rooneys going out of house to find a successor to Cowher. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and offensive line coach Russ Grimm, who also is assistant head coach, are considered the leading candidates at this moment but things may change. Whisenhunt seems like the logical choice because of his age and the Steelers do not want to lose his offensive mind. If they hire Russ Grimm they will lose Whisenhunt to possibly to Arizona or Atlanta. One intriguing name the Steelers may interview is Kirk Ferentz, the University of Iowa coach and Upper St. Clair native. Another possibility is Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. The Steelers interviewed 12 or 13 coaches before they hired Cowher in 1992 to replace Chuck Noll when he retired three days after the 1992 season.

Pirate Rumors: Adam Laroche close to becoming a Pirate?
The Pirates’ pursuit of Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche is picking up steam again, the Beaver County Times reports. Pittsburgh’s chances of acquiring LaRoche have improved now that Atlanta has backed off its request that left-handed starter Paul Maholm be included in a deal. However, the Braves are reluctant to deal LaRoche straight-up in a trade for closer Mike Gonzalez because of concerns about the left-hander’s injury history. The Braves want the Pirates to include a second player in the deal, reportedly either second baseman Jose Castillo or center fielder Chris Duffy.

The Buzzontheburgh’s Quick hits
The Penguins lost to the New Jersey Devils last night 3-0 and it was hard to watch. No wonder New Jersey averages 11,000 fans a game. Their style of play is so boring and although their style has produced championships over the last 10 years, i would rather watch the Wheeling Nailers than watch the Devils on a nightly basis. Head coach Michel Therrien had no answers for the Devils controlled breakout. Therrien did not switch things up in between periods or throw a big body such as Jordan Staal in front of the net on the power play to get some traffic in front of Marty Brodeur. Another statistic hard to believe is Colby Armstrong leading the team in ice time. Therrien has two offensive super stars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin but some odd reason Colby Armstrong is getting more ice time then Sid and Malkin.