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Old 07-20-2010, 06:56 PM   #1
pete74
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Default Woodley wants a fair share

was speaking to the football team at Chicago’s Leo Catholic High School on Monday afternoon when one of the teenage players raised his hand and asked a particularly relevant question.



Lamar Woodley was speaking to the football team at Chicago’s Leo Catholic High School on Monday afternoon when one of the teenage players raised his hand and asked a particularly relevant question
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If it’s all about the love of the game, why do so many players complain about their contracts?

Woodley, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Pro Bowl outside linebacker, knew this business-related query was quite personal.

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“Sometimes,” he said, “you’ve gotta be treated fair.”

Later Monday, in his first interview since being told by the Steelers that the team has no intention of negotiating an extension before the final season of his rookie contract, Woodley elaborated upon his frustration. The fourth-year standout, who has 29 sacks despite just 31 career regular-season starts, will make $550,000 in 2010, a figure that is much less than market value.

“It’s kind of jacked up,” Woodley said. “Everything I’ve ever done for the Steelers, on and off the field, has been positive. Sometimes you don’t get the same thing back in return.”

In May I wrote about Woodley’s quest for a restructured contract and how the “30 percent rule,” a restriction which came into play after the owners opted out of the current collective bargaining agreement, complicated matters for him and other NFL players who had outperformed their rookie deals. I suggested the kind of “Band-Aid” raise the Philadelphia Eagles had given new starting quarterback Kevin Kolb(notes). On a lesser scale Monday, the Titans placated All-Pro halfback Chris Johnson with a one-year upgrade that, by accelerating built-in contract escalators, reportedly will boost his 2010 earnings from $550,000 to somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 million.

Earlier this month the Steelers told Woodley’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, that no adjustment would immediately be made to his deal. Given the team’s policy of not discussing contracts once the season begins, that almost certainly means he won’t be able to cash in until after the owners and NFL Players Association reach a deal for a new CBA.

Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert wasn’t made available for an interview on Monday; communications coordinator Dave Lockett cited the team’s policy of not commenting on contract negotiations. Woodley, however, said the franchise’s message has been loud and clear.

“I’m not going to lie – I was a little disappointed that they didn’t offer anything at all,” Woodley said. “I felt that was a little weird. I guess they decided they’re going to sit back and wait for the CBA and all that to play out.

“You look around the league and you see different teams getting stuff done with their players in similar situations, and you think, ‘What, the Steelers don’t care about me?’ Stuff like that goes through your mind.”

Woodley insisted he’ll channel his anger toward having another stellar season and that his dissatisfaction won’t affect him on the field. “That’s what I love to do, go out and hit somebody,” he said. “I don’t see anything happening this year but all my numbers increasing.”

As for what happens after 2010, Woodley doesn’t sound especially committed to Pittsburgh, which may be a moot point. In theory, the Steelers can apply the franchise tag to keep Woodley from becoming an unrestricted free agent. As a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end, Woodley likely would command a one-year salary in the $12 million range under the current system.

Then again, with the CBA set to expire next March, there’s no guarantee that the device still will exist once a new deal is negotiated.

“They’re kind of looking at a franchise tag, but it’s a pretty risky gamble,” Woodley said. “If there is no franchise tag … I guess I can play for 31 [other] teams now. That’s what it boils down to. If they’d wanted to keep other teams from getting a crack, they could’ve tried to do so.”

Woodley said he has heard from several players on opposing teams “who say I deserve [a new deal]. They say, ‘How come they didn’t pay you? You know what? Some other team will pay you. We could use an outside linebacker.’ ”

He also has stayed in touch with New York Jets inside linebacker and former Michigan teammate David Harris(notes), who has been similarly rebuffed in an attempt to land a new deal with his team. “That defense that Harris is on now, he doesn’t need to go anywhere,” Woodley said, laughing. “All they need is a rusher to come over, and they’re set.”

Woodley’s frustrations with the Steelers stem from the belief that his contributions to the team’s success aren’t fully appreciated by management. Last year he tied for the NFL lead with 19 tackles for loss, and he was particularly productive during Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl title drive the previous season, recording six postseason sacks.

“You hear a lot of people saying, ‘Woodley’s asking for too much,’ ” he said. “You can compare my numbers to outside linebackers around the league, and I think mine stack up with anyone’s.

“I wouldn’t be making this argument if I didn’t produce on the field. But what I do is no joke. I get better every year. I’m not trying to say one man makes a team. But ever since I’ve been in that [starting role], our defensive stats have improved.”


Noting that the Steelers recently signed fourth-year coach Mike Tomlin to a contract extension, Woodley said, “On Twitter somebody wrote, ‘Are you serious? Who’s more important, LaMarr Woodley or a coach?’ I didn’t say that. But I thought it was funny.”

Woodley is less amused by the juxtaposition between the Steelers and Pennsylvania’s other NFL team, the Eagles, who after trading franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb(notes) boosted Kolb’s 2010 salary from $550,000 to $12.26 million.

“Kolb’s a second-round pick, so that’s the best comparison to me,” Woodley said. “When you see guys like that get taken care of, it makes you wonder. This guy has barely started a game in the NFL, and he becomes the starting quarterback of the Eagles, and they take care of their guy.

“With me, no conversations even happened. That’s the crazy thing – we don’t have any communication going on.”

It’s the kind of situation that can put a man’s love of the game to the test. Undoubtedly, the Steelers believe Woodley’s is sufficient to override any feelings of frustration
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Woodley wants a fair share

Not good that he's voicing his disappointment with the contract situation. Looks like he expected to be extended long-term before we hit the regular season.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Woodley wants a fair share

He needs to produce another good year under his rookie contract. What the hell happened to people living up to their agreements they make? He signed the contract no one forces them to. He has another good season the Steelers will reward him if that is possible. Yes he has been a valuable member of the defense but he needs to shut up and do his job and work hard with the contract he signed.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Woodley wants a fair share

Makes me think this'll be his last year with us.

I know somebody is going to offer up the big bucks for him.

I can understand why he wants more money---he's certainly earned it. Too bad we can't restructure his contract to give him a little extra this year---as a show of good faith---oh well, sometimes you can't go back in business. Here's to hoping we can resign Wood, but if not, that we'll have a suitable replacement.
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Woodley wants a fair share

we need to cut Harrison after the season and give woodley his contract. i doubt we will pay 2 OLB's that much so one will be gone and Woodley is by far my choice over Harrison. we need to pay the man what he deserves.
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Woodley wants a fair share

Woodley has more than earned any money he may want or ask for already. I think his disappointment comes from the fact that the Front Office has not approached him with any kind of plan to reward what he has meant to the team.

I understand his frustration and he needs to be paid really he does. I think Woodley wants some type of commitment from the Team that he will get his fair share. This makes it hard to motivate a player from a coaching stand point.

Come on Mr. Rooney do something for Woodley he has earned it.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Woodley wants a fair share

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Originally Posted by pete74 View Post
we need to cut Harrison after the season and give woodley his contract. i doubt we will pay 2 OLB's that much so one will be gone and Woodley is by far my choice over Harrison. we need to pay the man what he deserves.

I'm in agreement with you on this. Not that I want Harrison gone, but when they gave him that huge contract they knew then they would not be keeping him for the last couple of years of that deal.

They drafted his replacement this year. Gibson or Worilds will have that job in 2011 and the other will be used for depth.

I love our outside LBer's. But maybe we have to ask ourselves is it the player or the system? Do we just happen to keep having great outside backers? When is the last time we had a bad one. Even Clark Haggans was decent. The system is designed to have those guys make all the splash plays.

Harrison couldn't even get on the field. An undrafted journeyman, bounced around with a couple of teams on special teams and then he's the DPOY? He's great, but I think someone can do that job for a lot less and that's the Steeler's plan.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: Woodley wants a fair share

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Originally Posted by pete74 View Post
we need to cut Harrison after the season and give woodley his contract. i doubt we will pay 2 OLB's that much so one will be gone and Woodley is by far my choice over Harrison. we need to pay the man what he deserves.
And then there are those of us who believe that a lot of Woodley's success has been a direct result of him playing on the opposite side of the defensive player of the year.

If we can keep Woodley, then great. But if we can't, then I have a sneaky suspicion that someone like Worlids would put up identical numbers.
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:16 AM   #9
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Default Re: Woodley wants a fair share

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Originally Posted by vrabinec View Post
And then there are those of us who believe that a lot of Woodley's success has been a direct result of him playing on the opposite side of the defensive player of the year.

If we can keep Woodley, then great. But if we can't, then I have a sneaky suspicion that someone like Worlids would put up identical numbers.
Anyone who thinks we need to cut Harrison is beyond delusional. He's still the best pure tackler on our team and the best LBer we have in run support (and that includes our ILBs). The Steelers will extend Woodley, he's not going anywhere. We'll be able to afford him at a fair price since we don't have to worry about paying SanSmokio.

Vrab, are you going to be doing your annual training camp analysis?
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: Woodley wants a fair share

TBH I think we should move Harrison to MLB and put Timmons OLB...

Woodley deserves a new contract, yes we might put the franchise tag on him but one day he can reject our offer and go to another place, I think we should try to get a deal done, maybe Ben and Harrison can renegotiate some off their contracts, because woodleys the future of our defense. We also have Timmons, Ike and Polamalu to extend...

It's a hard year for contracts, but at least Woodley isn't doing a darrelle revis about how much he is crying.
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