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Old 05-03-2010, 09:25 PM   #1
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Default Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder

Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_679005.html
By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, May 1, 2010

John Harris is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sports columnist and can be reached at 412-481-5432 or via e-mail.
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The Steelers selected two outside linebackers among their top four picks in the NFL Draft, and it just so happens that sackmaster LaMarr Woodley is entering the final year of his contract.

I won't jump to conclusions, but the addition of rookies Jason Worilds and Thaddeus Gibson still has me scratching my head.

Talent-wise, Worilds and Gibson make sense. They both possess the ability to play in the league for a long time. But they can't play from the bench.

The Steelers feature two of the best outside linebackers in the league in Woodley and James Harrison, so they add two players at the same position relatively early in the draft?

Am I missing something?

"We've got two pretty good outside linebackers that are starters right now," veteran linebackers coach Keith Butler said. "Since I've been here, we've never had a rookie linebacker start in this system. I spend 90 percent of my time teaching young guys where do they line up and what are they looking at."

Is Harrison, who turns 32 next week, suddenly too old?

Are the Steelers planning to allow Woodley to walk when his contract ends following the 2010 season?

Is the team hoping to pressure Woodley into agreeing to a deal more favorable to their terms?

"I don't focus on that. Where I'm at is where I'm at. I'm still here right now," Woodley said Friday on the first day of the Steelers' only mandatory minicamp of the offseason.

"I don't look at the draft like a threat. Those guys came in today, I did my part making sure they learn this defense. I'm not one of those selfish guys that says: 'Oh, this guy's here to take my spot' and not teach him. If me and James get hurt, those guys have to be ready to step in and play."

Woodley wants to re-sign with the Steelers, but he won't use the minicamp or voluntary practices as a personal forum to advance his contract negotiations.

Some players attempt to force a deal with the threat of a boycott from team activities. Deal or no deal, Woodley said he will attend every offseason practice -- even the ones that aren't mandatory.

"Either way, I'm going to be out there," said Woodley, a second-round pick in 2007 who already has 29 career sacks. "I'm going to be at training camp at the end of July. And I'm going to be playing football in September.

"People ask about my contract situation. That's between my agent and the front office. They control that end. I'm looking forward to being here right now, playing ball, controlling things I can control."

Like it or not, Woodley understands he can't control what occurs off the field.

"I'm trying to win football games," he said.

Woodley admitted that the dreaded 30 percent rule, which stipulates a player's total compensation as part of a contract extension cannot exceed 30 percent in an uncapped year, could be a potential roadblock to getting a deal done.

"Getting the contract done, maybe -- I don't know," said Woodley, whose base salary was $460,000 last season. "But that's not my main focus."

Woodley said he didn't take the Steelers' heavy emphasis on drafting linebackers personally. Instead, he said he attempted to explain to family members and friends why the Steelers drafted two players at his position.

"People are texting me -- 'Why are y'all steady drafting outside linebackers?'" Woodley said with a smile. "I don't know. I don't pay attention to stuff like that.

"My numbers are pretty good, but I haven't played my best football yet. I can get more sacks, put more pressure on the quarterback and cause more fumbles.

"My first year as a starter, I started off good, fell off at the end and picked it up in the playoffs. Last year, I started off bad and picked it up at the end. If I can play at the beginning of the year like I do at the end of the year, it'll be dangerous."

Not to mention expensive for the Steelers.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder

Can't believe he was only making $460,000 last season while guys like JaMarcus Russell are making $8 million or so. In the words of Deion Sanders.. PAY THE MAN!
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder

Hopefully Omar can figure something out to get the man his money work around the 30% rule will be a challenge. maybe a short term deal and once the cap is back a longer term deal
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder

.........

does this guy seriously not know why we took two lbs????

DEPTH.

like if special teams doesnt need any help...
and WHAT IF... woodley or harrison go down during the season. who steps in?
and harrison isnt gettin any younger. who takes his place?

and this guy seriously cant make sense as to why they drafted two great talents at lb?
NEXT...
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder

I wouldn't worry about it if I was in Woodley's shoes. More like, these guys will help our special teams, which desperately needed it, and in a few years one of them might take over Harrison's spot. I still think we jumped the gun and made a big reach here, to the detriment of other positions that needed replenishment far more urgently.
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder

It is tough to retire as a Steeler as a LB. Usually they want more than the Steelers are willing to pay and they CAN be replaced.

Woodley is worth 5-6 mil/year to the Steelers. If he wants more, let him walk. Worilds will take over next year. If Worilds (or Gibson) is not ready, they shift Timmons to OLB and put Foote in at ILB for a year (If Farror is still playing). If not, Fox can even do ILB. Worilds will be ready though.

Really I feel 4-5.5m/y is the right amount to spend.

I am not even a tiny bit worried. I got worried when we were going to lose Greene, Lloyd, Gildon, Chad Scott, Nickerson, and Porter. Each time we did fine. We'll do fine again. They won't break the bank. He's going to have to decide if he wants to be a Steeler because whatever they offer him, someone will offer more. Look at DeMarcus Ware (6 year 78 mill...crazy).
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Old 05-04-2010, 03:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder

There is no dought in my mind that Woodley will be resigned. I think the drafting of the outside linebackers was for when Harrison is slowing down so we would have the replacement not to mention to boost our special teams.
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder

Pay the Man
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder

Quote:
Originally Posted by steelreserve View Post
I wouldn't worry about it if I was in Woodley's shoes. More like, these guys will help our special teams, which desperately needed it, and in a few years one of them might take over Harrison's spot. I still think we jumped the gun and made a big reach here, to the detriment of other positions that needed replenishment far more urgently.
Agreed. I think if anyone would be looking over his shoulder it will be Harrison.

No way in hell I can see us letting Woodley get away. He WILL get a big deal with us IMO.

And to be brutally honest, Harrison is only a temper tantrum or two away from the dog house. Not to mention the age factor. JMO
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Harris: Woodley not looking over his shoulder

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelKnight View Post
It is tough to retire as a Steeler as a LB. Usually they want more than the Steelers are willing to pay and they CAN be replaced.

Woodley is worth 5-6 mil/year to the Steelers. If he wants more, let him walk. Worilds will take over next year. If Worilds (or Gibson) is not ready, they shift Timmons to OLB and put Foote in at ILB for a year (If Farror is still playing). If not, Fox can even do ILB. Worilds will be ready though.

Really I feel 4-5.5m/y is the right amount to spend.

I am not even a tiny bit worried. I got worried when we were going to lose Greene, Lloyd, Gildon, Chad Scott, Nickerson, and Porter. Each time we did fine. We'll do fine again. They won't break the bank. He's going to have to decide if he wants to be a Steeler because whatever they offer him, someone will offer more. Look at DeMarcus Ware (6 year 78 mill...crazy).
No way does Woodley sign for 4.5 to 5 Million a year. 6 Years ago, Joey Porter got 6 Million dollars a year and Woodley is a better OLB than Porter was. To keep Woodley, we are going to need to pay him atleat $6 Million a year.
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