Steelers linebacker Woodley shapes up for 2013
There's no denying that LaMarr Woodley has a chip on his shoulder.
At least that's what teammate Larry Foote has observed through the first week of training camp, and, surprisingly, it has nothing to do with the offseason chatter by an anonymous teammate about the newly minted $61.5 million linebacker being out of shape.
“(The chip) is not because of what people were saying but because he was out last year,” Foote said.
A hamstring injury followed by a high-ankle sprain kept Woodley out of three games, leading to a career-low four sacks and spawning a series of debates about whether the linebacker's weight was the reason.
Woodley said the criticism just comes with the territory.
“I sit back and I laugh at that type of stuff because everybody always has an opinion,” Woodley said. “If you have a bad season, you have to point the finger at somebody, and I just happened to be the guy they pointed the finger at.”
Woodley said he refused to let the criticism bother him.
“When they showed that stuff on ESPN about the anonymous … I laughed,” he said. “I was actually getting up every morning and laughing at that because I thought it was quite funny.”
Foote said he never read too much into Woodley's weight because “he's always been big.”
“He is one of those husky kids — he's always been big,” Foote said. “Look back at the film when he was getting 15 sacks, and he still looks the same.”
Still, something did get through to Woodley, and it could have been a talk he had with linebackers coach Keith Butler during which Butler stressed that Woodley needed to find a way to stay on the field.
Fast forward a couple of months. Woodley is in noticeably better shape, and that can be traced to an offseason training regimen he went through in Arizona with Ryan Clark and former teammates James Harrison and Max Starks.
“Right now, Wood is where we need to have him,” Butler said. “He looks good.”
Woodley hopes he can get back to the form of 2008-10, when he had sack years of 111⁄2, 131⁄2 and 10.
Woodley blames some of his dropoff to fewer opportunities the past few seasons.
“In 2011, we did more rushing and less covering,” Woodley said. “They pay me to rush, so hopefully they have me rushing and not covering receivers and tight ends down the field.”
And with Harrison gone to Cincinnati, that just might be the plan.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Polamalu enters training camp as Steelers’ longest tenured player
- Despite fulfilling promise to mother, Steelers’ Tomlin not yet satisfied
- Timmons feels pressure to transform Steelers back into contender
- In open AFC North, it’s anyone’s game
- Versatile linebacker Moats getting up to speed with Steelers
- Steelers’ Pouncey not named on initial police report
- Report: Steelers worth $1.118 billion
- Steelers’ Taylor ‘hurt’ by pay cut
- Steelers’ Pouncey investigated in alleged assault