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mesaSteeler
03-03-2012, 08:59 AM
Analysis: Steelers say farewell to Farrior

By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, March 3, 2012

The purge started Wednesday with receiver Hines Ward. It ended Friday when the Steelers told linebacker James Farrior, a towering figure during a championship run surpassed in franchise history by only the 1970s Steelers, that he, too, would be released.

The Steelers appear to be finished -- at least for now -- shedding salary and getting younger.

A flurry of activity rid them of three stalwarts (Farrior, Ward and defensive end Aaron Smith) who played a combined 37 seasons in Pittsburgh and helped the Steelers win two Super Bowls and appear in three NFL title games during a six-year span.

It was the organization's biggest shakeup in recent memory, yet the team remained remarkably intact.

The four players with whom the Steelers cut ties -- they also released guard Chris Kemoeatu -- started on the 2008 team that won an NFL-record sixth Super Bowl. But by the end of last season, only Farrior was a starter due to a confluence of injury, age and ineffectiveness.

And the seemingly ageless Farrior had slowed down enough that he shared time at left inside linebacker with Larry Foote.

The Steelers no doubt have significant questions at inside linebacker. But that was the case before they decided to release Farrior, who turned 37 in January and had one year left on his contract.

The Steelers need to find a long-term successor to Farrior in the draft. Foote, 31, appears to be the short-term answer unless the Steelers think third-year man Stevenson Sylvester is ready.

Replacing Farrior won't be easy.

Farrior quarterbacked the defense for a decade, making on-field adjustments as skillfully as he plugged running lanes. He started all 154 games he played for the Steelers, made two Pro Bowls, earned team MVP honors in 2004 and served as a defensive captain for eight consecutive seasons.

Not that Farrior had hard feelings over how his Steelers tenure ended, said Farrior's Pittsburgh-based agent, Ralph Cindrich.

"He's a professional. He knows the score," Cindrich said. "The Steelers were up front and honest with us."

Put another way, the Steelers didn't stray from what has made them one of sport's most successful franchises.

The Steelers may be a family-owned operation whose patriarch, Dan Rooney, waits in the lunch line at team headquarters and interacts easily with the players. But the Rooneys long have separated emotion from business.

It is never easy bidding farewell to a player who has meant so much to the organization for so long. The Steelers did it three times in three days. But the releases were standard-operating procedure: Just look at the lengthy list of Steelers greats the organization released or let sign elsewhere.

And so at the end of a week that felt like the end of an era, Steelers president Art Rooney II saluted Smith and Farrior, as he had done earlier with Ward. But he also made it clear the Steelers are moving forward.

"(Smith) has done so much for the Steelers on and off the field," Rooney said. "We will always hold him in high regard for helping us to so much success over his 13 years with the team.

"(Farrior) has been a leader for our defense on the field and an ambassador for the Steelers in the community. We appreciate everything James has done and truly wish him nothing but the best."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

Read more: Analysis: Steelers say farewell to Farrior - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_784643.html#ixzz1o3ugDMO7

stb_steeler
03-03-2012, 12:44 PM
One of my favs......hes a great leader and i wish him well.

steeltheone
03-03-2012, 02:49 PM
I just can't believe, knowing that they were going to be cut that they did not retire?

Unless they think they are going to play elsewhere?

Bayz101
03-03-2012, 02:53 PM
I just can't believe, knowing that they were going to be cut that they did not retire?

Unless they think they are going to play elsewhere?

Older players often have a hard time dealing with the reality of things as it is, and it didn't help that the cut's and releases that needed to be executed we're on a deadline. I sure hope Ward and Farrior retire, and I wish they'd had retired while still a part of this team, but to be honest, they'll always be remembered for what they did in Pittsburgh, and that's all that matters to me.

steeltheone
03-03-2012, 03:00 PM
I see Ward playing on ....Its obvious Smith was finished and i can't see Farrior playing elsewhere.

jjpro11
03-03-2012, 03:41 PM
I see Ward playing on ....Its obvious Smith was finished and i can't see Farrior playing elsewhere.

i see it as the opposite.. i think Ward and Smith are finished, while Farrior could probably latch on somewhere and serve as a situational linebacker. he still has good instincts, can play the run, and is a great leader.. it's his pass coverage that has fallen off. he'd be perfect for a team with a young linebacking group.

Bayz101
03-03-2012, 03:54 PM
Smith will retire, and Farrior/Ward will both either find a team or retire themselves.

MasterOfPuppets
03-03-2012, 04:06 PM
I just can't believe, knowing that they were going to be cut that they did not retire?

Unless they think they are going to play elsewhere?
they all still had money owed to them . if they retire the steelers don't owe them the money because they "broke" the contract. they get cut, they get the money.

Curtain_of_Steel
03-03-2012, 04:21 PM
I was hoping he wouldve stayed, I still like him over foote, but its apparent they have gone with Foote.

As far as Smith goes, he has been handed gifts for 2 years. He should have nothing but good stuff to say about the org. Shouldve been cut before last season and boy that 5million wouldve helped some place.

I think Farrior might be done or sit and wait till thing splay out here. But he has definately lost a step.

Ward should be done, go out on a high note. There isn't a lot to prove, its not like he will pull a Woodson for the next 3 years

StainlessStill
03-03-2012, 04:51 PM
I was hoping he wouldve stayed, I still like him over foote, but its apparent they have gone with Foote.

Only makes sense. Foote knows this system inside and out. Played both Middle-linebacking positions and is about, 6 years younger than Farrior. Foote also spelled Farrior last season many times and at other times, completely takin' Farrior's position for the majority of games. He is also a very wise and smart player and can get to the play faster since he is more agile than Farrior.

I'm comfortable with Foote and Timmons in the middle while we groom our next future Middle Linebacker.