View Full Version : "Don't F#%#%ng Mess With My Money!", James Farrior

01-08-2012, 03:36 AM
PITTSBURGH James Farrior stood in front of the whiteboard at the entrance of the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room and grabbed a marker.

Just in case some of his younger teammates don't understand what's at stake over the next month, the linebacker who turned 37 on Friday decided it was time for his colorful annual reminder.

"Don't (expletive) mess with my money," Farrior wrote, then outlined the bonus each player receives depending on how far his team goes in the playoffs, including the $88,000 that comes with getting to the Super Bowl.

Posting the note has become routine for Farrior at the start of each playoff run, though this message was a little more impassioned than most.

The defending AFC champions begin their quest for a seventh Lombardi trophy on Sunday in Denver in the wild-card round, perhaps the last time the core group of the league's top-ranked defense will make a playoff push together.

Farrior is in his 15th season. Linebackers James Harrison and Larry Foote, defensive linemen Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel and defensive backs Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark and Bryant McFadden are all in their 30s and closer to the end of their careers than the beginning.

They've been the backbone of a decade-long run that rivals the four championships the franchise captured in the 1970s, winning two titles and narrowly missing a third in a 31-25 loss to Green Bay in last year's Super Bowl.

And they all understand their window to getting another ring is closing quickly. For some, it maybe already has done so.

"It has to come to an end soon," said defensive end Aaron Smith, who is out for the year because of a herniated disc and unsure whether he'll return for a 14th season next fall. "We're all getting older. We can't play forever although we'd like to."

The signs of age are starting to show.

Harrison missed a month in the middle of the season because of a fractured right orbital bone and missed practice last week because of a problematic toe injury. So did Keisel, who is nursing a strained groin and Polamalu, who is dealing with a tender calf.

All three are expected to play against the Broncos, though the defense will be without Clark, who was taken out of the lineup by coach Mike Tomlin because of a sickle-cell trait that becomes aggravated when playing at altitude.

It's been that way most of the season for the Steelers, who finished No. 1 in the league in fewest yards and points allowed and were tops in pass defense despite spending most of the year going with a patchwork lineup.

Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have only played alongside each other for a quarter since Oct. 2, when Harrison injured an eye. He returned a month later, a week after Woodley went down because of a strained left hamstring that's dogged him ever since. But they should be reunited in Denver.

Yet the Steelers have thrived even without their two Pro Bowlers. Lawrence Timmons has filled in the gaps, playing all four linebacker positions at some point. Jason Worilds and Stevenson Sylvester have grown up on the job while defensive ends Ziggy Hood (Mizzou) and Cam Heyward have become solid contributors following season-ending injuries to Smith and Chris Hoke.

The Steelers face a team that has been regressing. The Broncos have lost three in a row, got into the playoffs only because Oakland lost last week and quarterback Tim Tebow has turned the ball over seven times during their skid and Denver's defense hasn't produced a single takeaway in that span.

Backup Brady Quinn has been staying late after practice this week, working on timing routes with receiver Eric Decker. Quinn asserts he's just trying to stay sharp, and not because coaches have informed him that he may be called on should Tebow's struggles continue.

Quinn said he's "as ready as you can be" if called upon.

Coach John Fox has demurred when asked about the possibility of benching Tebow.

"I don't want to speculate on those things," Fox said.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/football ... z1iqlJRmIB (http://www.stltoday.com/sports/football/steelers-defensive-stars-prepping-for-final-stand/article_4ad92a31-7867-5c97-9e17-395cb796d81d.html#ixzz1iqlJRmIB)