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Steelers-Cowboys matchup: Steelers OLB Woodley vs. Cowboys RT Free

CHAZ PALLA | TRIBUNE-REVIEW FILE
LaMarr Woodley is about to become one of the most expensive ex-Steelers in team history. The team will release the former Pro Bowl outside linebacker — one who is coming off three consecutive injury-interrupted seasons — on June 1.

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Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, 10:50 p.m.
 

STEELERS OLB LAMARR WOODLEY vs. COWBOYS RT DOUG FREE

MATCHUP: Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley returns to the lineup after missing the better part of the past three games with an ankle injury. With the Steelers' secondary banged up, they will look to pressure Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, and nobody has allowed more pressures in the league than Doug Free with 42.

WOODLEY: He has struggled to stay healthy as much as he has struggled to pressure the quarterback. Woodley has played in only 43 percent of the defensive snaps this season because of hamstring and ankle issues. Woodley has just four sacks and 14 quarterback hurries/pressures. He needs two sacks to pass Greg Lloyd for the fifth most in team history. Woodley is on pace for his lowest sack total since becoming a full-time starter in 2008.

FREE: The Cowboys gave Free left tackle money last year only to move him to right tackle this season. He has struggled so badly that he gave way to Jeremy Parnell for a couple of series against the Bengals last week. They were the first snaps Free has missed; he had played all 873 offensive snaps until last week. Free has allowed six sacks and has been called for an NFL-leading 15 penalties (13 accepted).

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