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Steelers sign OLB Woodley to long-term deal

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By Scott Brown
Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011
 

His favorite restaurant is Applebee's, and he still has the car he drove to Pittsburgh after the Steelers selected him in the second round of the 2007 draft.

LaMarr Woodley can afford to upgrade. But the 6-foot-2, 265-pound outside linebacker made one thing clear Friday after signing the biggest contract by a Steelers defensive player: He is not getting rid of his "old" Buick Roadmaster.

"I don't need to buy anything right now," said Woodley, who inked a six-year, $61.5 million deal that includes a $22.5 million signing bonus. "I may do different things as far as my family members and stuff like that. I think I'm fine right now."

He is better than OK when it comes to his bank account and football. His standing as one of the NFL's top pass rushers convinced the Steelers to make Woodley the second highest-paid player in franchise history. Only quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's eight-year, $102 million contract, signed in 2008, is bigger.

Woodley had signed a one-year, $10 million deal in February after the Steelers used the franchise tag on him.

The sides made finalizing a long-term deal a priority, and they reached an agreement early yesterday.

Woodley set his alarm clock for 6 a.m. so he could break the news on Facebook and Twitter.

The signing was a hot topic among Woodley's teammates.

"Somebody asked me if I was going to buy an island. Somebody told me to buy the camera from the cameraman and buy him a new one," Woodley said. "Am I gonna buy a yacht• All kinds of jokes. Dinner on me. Everything."

It was, Woodley said with a grin, all in good fun.

"I think we're a little different team than most teams," outside linebacker James Harrison said. "We're happy to see a guy get paid."

Woodley, 26, and Harrison are the only players in Steelers history to notch double digits in sacks three consecutive seasons. Woodley also holds an NFL record with at least two sacks in four consecutive postseason games.

Harrison signed a six-year, $51.175 million deal in April 2009.

Woodley said the money won't change him off the field — or on it, as far as feeling pressure to perform.

"People are going to expect a lot out of you because of the money you signed for, but you should expect a lot of yourself anyway regardless of the money you sign for," Woodley said. "I'm a competitive person. Last year, I didn't have a (long-term) contract, but I still went out and gave my all because that's the kind of person I am."

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