**The AFC Defensive Player of the Week for a second week in a row was Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu, the league announced on Wednesday.
Polamalu for the third straight week, changed the complexion of a game, this time against the Cincinnati Benglas, intercepting Carson Palmer and returning it 45 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.
“Troy had a tremendous break on the play,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “Whether or not he was baiting Carson is debatable. It was a route that he was familiar with. I think TO (Terrell Owens) was the intended receiver, and may have tripped or stumbled coming out of his break. I think that provided the necessary grass that Troy needed to come down hill on the ball and make the play. But no question, Troy was in great position and he had a great break on the ball.”
Polamalu then added a 2nd interception late in the game for his 6th INT of the season.
After going 7 games without an interception, Polamalu has 4 INT’s in his last 4 games, including 1 sack and 1 forced fumble.
**Simon Despres the Penguins No. 1 prospect was named to Hockey Canada’s World Junior Championship team. It is a great honor for Despres and a huge opportunity for his development as Saint John’s assistant coach Marc Hussey told me during an interview this week.
“It’s going to be a huge opportunity if he plays there and a huge step in his career to being able to play at a higher level than juniors, ” Hussey told Inside Pittsburgh Sports.com on Monday during a phone interview. “It’s definetely going to help him going into Penguins camp.”
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Despres did not have a strong camp but Despres should still be in the top-6 to open the tournament.
**Pitt Football’s head coaching search has gone from Dana Holgorsen to Al Golden to now Miami Ohio’s Mike Haywood who the school is believed to be close to hiring.
The move will be seen by the fans as a step down and a tough sell for the administration with Holgorsen going to West Virginia for close to $2 million per season and Pitt not considering more established coaches who are interested in the job, like a Tom Bradley for example.
Haywood, 46, is in his second season at Miami Ohio and led the Redhawks to a 9-4 record this season after a 1-11 season in 2009.
He was the offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Notre Dame (2005-08), where he was named NCAA Division I-A Assistant Coach of the Year in 2005.
However, at Notre Dame, Haywood lost his play calling duties as offensive coordinator in 2008.
Haywood also coached at Texas (2003-04), LSU (1995-2002), Ball State (1993-94), Ohio (1991-92), Army (1989-90) and Minnesota (1988).