In August 2011, the Steelers gave LaMarr Woodley a six-year, $61.5 million contract extension. The deal made sense; Woodley had 35 sacks the previous three seasons, and he added nine more in the months following his new deal. But he had just nine total sacks in 2012 and 2013, and by March 2014, he was out of a job.
Woodley spent an injury-plagued year in Oakland (six games, zero sacks) before signing with the Cardinals last season (10 games, one sack). Now 31 and a free agent, it's fair to wonder if his best days are behind him.
Not helping his chances: Woodley ripping his former defensive coordinators. And while he doesn't name names, he might as well have; Woodley's clearly talking about the Cardinals' James Bettcher and former Raiders coordinator Jason Tarver.
"In Oakland, we had a dumb defensive coordinator and in Arizona, we had a dumb defensive coordinator," Woodley said on his podcast, via AZCentral.com. "It was just two dumb guys. They thought we were like Madden players. They'd draw something up and on paper it looked good, but the players still have to go out there and run it. Those guys didn't really listen to their players. They wanted to do it their way and their way only."
Woodley, who played outside linebacker in Pittsburgh from 2007-13, wasn't happy about being moved to defensive end in Oakland. And he blamed Bettcher for the Cardinals' 49-15 blowout loss to the Panthers in last season's NFC Championship Game.
"In Arizona, we had one of the best defenses," he said. "You look at the results that happened in the Carolina game. It wasn't because we had bad players. No, our defensive coordinator he didn't have the common sense to talk to his players to make the adjustments. Because he just wanted to do things his way, those are the results we got, bottom line."
Woodley is free to call out whomever he pleases, but it's worth pointing out that entering his final year in Pittsburgh, an unnamed teammate called him out for not taking his job seriously.
"He was awful," an anonymous Steelers player told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at the time. "He tells us he works out, but we didn't see it. He wasn't in shape. That has to be a reason why he was always hurt."
In the three seasons since those comments were made, Woodley has played in 27 (of 4 games and managed six sacks. So, yeah.