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fordfixer
12-29-2010, 02:40 AM
Steelers' Farrior playing young
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 15649.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_715649.html)

Can someone be an unquestioned leader if there are questions about his play?

Fortunately for the Steelers, the question is moot when it comes to inside linebacker and defensive quarterback James Farrior.

Farrior is second on the team in tackles (134) and has a chance to set a career high in sacks Sunday when the Steelers visit the Cleveland Browns with the AFC North title and No. 2 seed in the conference playoffs on the line.

All of Farrior's six sacks have come in the past seven games, making questions of the oldest player on the Steelers making concessions to age seem so, well, 2009.

Not that criticism of Farrior ever weighed heavily on the 6-foot-2, 243-pounder.

"If I read the newspaper, listened to what everybody says, I would have been out of the league a long time ago," said Farrior, who turns 36 in the next two weeks. "I learned a long time ago in New York that you've got to have a thick skin."

Farrior has been such a steadying influence on the Steelers defense for so long that it is easy to forget he spent his first five NFL seasons in the Big Apple.

The Jets took him with the eighth overall selection of the 1997 draft, and that alone put him in the crosshairs of the New York tabloids.

After five solid seasons with the Jets, the Steelers made perhaps the best free-agent signing in franchise history when they lured Farrior to Pittsburgh. He has started all but four games since joining the Steelers in 2002, and in addition to his durability, he has made two Pro Bowls.

One facet of Farrior is undisputed: This has been his defense since the Steelers released outside linebacker Joey Porter after the 2006 season.

"We have a lot of Alpha males in our locker room," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's the unquestioned leader of our football team. I think that's all you need to say about James Farrior."

Indeed, Farrior has been voted a captain seven consecutive seasons by his teammates. He also relays the plays from defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to his teammates and has the added responsibilities of making sure everyone is in the right position.

"He's the most important guy on our defense to me," outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "He gets me lined up, gets me where I've got to go. He's playing like the youngest guy on our defense with the way he hits."

Age and countless on-field collisions looked like it had caught up with Farrior last season when the Steelers couldn't protect fourth-quarter leads in five of seven losses.

But those who concluded that Farrior had lost a step were off base, said his teammates.

"His elbow was messed up," nose tackle Casey Hampton said. "He'd get to the ball and stuff, but it was hard for him to make plays with one arm. We know how good he is, how valuable he is. I think people around the league know it, but he's just overshadowed by other guys."

Those other guys include teammates such as strong safety Troy Polamalu and outside linebacker James Harrison. Also falling into that category is Ray Lewis, who was drafted the year before Farrior and has received more acclaim than his division rival.

Not that Farrior complains about how his career his played out, especially given his hopes when the veteran of 14 years first entered the NFL.

"I felt like if I got to 10 years, that would be the ultimate career," Farrior said.

Maybe, it was suggested to Farrior, that he is feeling strong enough to play 20 years.

"I don't think I want to," said Farrior, whose contract runs through the 2012 season.

But, he added with a smile, "Fifteen is attainable."

Djfan
12-29-2010, 02:55 AM
He has been one of my favorites for the last 5-6 years. I wore his jersey today when I was at the airport in Denver, dropping my son off.

The Sodfather
12-29-2010, 08:19 AM
You can make a case he should have made the pro bowl.

You could also make a strong case for Timmons.

sentinel33
12-29-2010, 04:38 PM
man, i hope he sticks it out through 2012.timmons can use those extra couple of years to really get locked in. he would be there longer than Farrior given how old he is-24 i believe.
his play is inspiring this year. especially how he has turned it on when it matters most.

hawaiiansteel
12-29-2010, 04:50 PM
man, i hope he sticks it out through 2012.

his play is inspiring this year. especially how he has turned it on when it matters most.


and to think, there were many willing to write Farrior's obituary after last season...

skyhawk
12-29-2010, 08:24 PM
man, i hope he sticks it out through 2012.

his play is inspiring this year. especially how he has turned it on when it matters most.


and to think, there were many willing to write Farrior's obituary after last season...

$$$

Farrior is the most underrated Steeler ever. One of the greatest players on one of the best defenses of all time.

skyhawk
12-29-2010, 08:26 PM
You can make a case he should have made the pro bowl.

You could also make a strong case for Timmons.

In any other season, they would have been. But the Steelers have been the poster children for hard hits and poor behavior all season. I am not surprised at the snub. It's been happening all season.

pittpete
12-30-2010, 02:18 PM
and to think, there were many willing to write Farrior's obituary after last season...

Id be the first to admit this
Glad I was wrong as Father Time has been good to this man.

fezziwig
12-30-2010, 02:26 PM
I was very excited when we picked up Farrior and never looked back. However, I am one of the guys that thought he lost a step last season or this season. He has played well this season and will be missed when he finally does hang up his football days.

I still think we should be looking for a younger bigger guy to take his place. I actually thought it was going to be Timmons.

Anyway, Farrior has missed more Pro Bowl selections than I care to count.

ScoreKeeper
12-30-2010, 03:03 PM
I was there with a lot of you after last season. Glad I was wrong. I guess some of us started throwing dirt on throwing dirt on the grave a little to soon.

ikestops85
12-30-2010, 03:43 PM
Last season Farrior got beat on 2 high visible plays late in the fourth quarter of games we ultimately lost. The 1st was against the bungles when he missed a tackle on 4th down that allowed the bengals to keep the ball and beat us. The other was a fourth down play when Ray Rice beat him on a pass route for a big gain. I personally thought the criticism on that play was unjust. Flacco threw a perfect pass to Rice and he had to because Farrior had good coverage on him.

Because of those plays a lot of fans figured Farrior was on the way out. Fast forward to a year later and now we have people wondering how he got snubbed for the pro bowl. I'm glad you stuck with us James. You are one of those glue-type players that allow us to win championships. All teams have stars on them. It's the other players that separate us from them ... and Farrior is one of those players.

fezziwig
12-30-2010, 03:46 PM
Last season Farrior got beat on 2 high visible plays late in the fourth quarter of games we ultimately lost. The 1st was against the bungles when he missed a tackle on 4th down that allowed the bengals to keep the ball and beat us. The other was a fourth down play when Ray Rice beat him on a pass route for a big gain. I personally thought the criticism on that play was unjust. Flacco threw a perfect pass to Rice and he had to because Farrior had good coverage on him.

Because of those plays a lot of fans figured Farrior was on the way out. Fast forward to a year later and now we have people wondering how he got snubbed for the pro bowl. I'm glad you stuck with us James. You are one of those glue-type players that allow us to win championships. All teams have stars on them. It's the other


players that separate us from them ... and Farrior is one of those players.


$