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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Players must grin, bear it while media throng acts silly

DETROIT – Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren was asked about his chin. Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher was asked about his chin. The coaches were asked separately to compare their chins and pick their favorite chin. Holmgren went with Cowher’s more celebrated chin. Cowher declined to speculate on his chin preference.

Welcome to Media Day at Super Bowl XL.

Seahawks reserve center Chris Spencer was asked to demonstrate snapping a football to a female reporter from BET. An entertainment reporter gave Ben Roethlisberger a trophy for “Most Likely to be on ‘CSI: Miami, Ohio.’ ” Same guy gave Matt Hasselbeck a trophy for “Most Likely to Appear on ‘The View.’ “

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried seized Steelers linebacker James Farrior’s spot at the podium and fielded questions from the media. Seated about 10 yards away at the next podium, Roethlisberger raised an eyebrow upon hearing Gottfried’s shrieking voice. A TV crew from Televisa posed questions with a Steelers hand puppet equipped with a flowing black mane in tribute to Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu.

Then the conversation turned serious. Near the end of the hour-long session, Holmgren fielded a dreaded question:

“Have you ever listened to Paul Allen’s band?”

Perhaps recalling his days in the late 1970s as “Manifold Mike” in the faculty band Big Bop and the Choppers at Oak Grove High School in San Jose, Calif., Holmgren chose his words carefully.

“This might be the hardest question I’ve had all day,” he said, triggering laughter from a crowd of media. “I have the CD. You know what, they’re good, they’re really good.”

Haskell waits for big call

Holmgren has often wondered out loud why offensive coordinator Gil Haskell hasn’t been on the interview list for the 10 NFL teams that have changed coaches since the end of the regular season. Haskell has Super Bowl rings, 23 years of NFL experience and has helped coordinate some of the league’s most prolific offenses over the last decade.

“I’d love to be a head coach and I feel I’m prepared to be a head coach,” Haskell said.

Rhodes appears before media

Defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes made a rare appearance with the media. It was the first time he’s spoken to reporters since suffering a setback a few months ago after a mild stroke in early September.

Doctors have restricted Rhodes’ workload and he often watches practices from a distance.

“The key thing is to do what I’m supposed to do,” Rhodes said. “To take myself out of the equation, if you have health issues, sometimes you have to do that. I’m feeling good. I’m getting better all the time.”

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