Woodley putting in the effort for Steelers

May 5, 2013
By Dan Gigler / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Former Pro Bowl linebacker LaMarr Woodley was a disappointment for the Steelers in 2012 but said he is working hard this offseason to make sure he helps the team get back to the playoffs.

Having absorbed criticism for a perceived lack of fitness in 2012, Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley said Saturday he's "getting after it" with his offseason conditioning, hoping to avoid the injuries that sidelined him for stretches of the past two seasons.

"My offseason is going great. I'm looking forward to getting back with the team in a few weeks," Woodley said. "I've been training since the middle of February. ... It was a disappointing season being 8-8 and not making the playoffs. It was disappointing at the end of the day."

Woodley missed three full games and most of two others last season due to ankle and hamstring injuries; he also missed six in 2011. Questions arose about his fitness, and he was anonymously blasted as "terrible" by a teammate in a Post-Gazette column in February.

"My thing was during the season when I hurt my ankle, I said that I wanted to come back stronger next year. Some injuries you can't predict or avoid, but, during the season, I said this offseason I'd be determined to get after it."

Woodley spoke at a luncheon Saturday at Station Square for the P.A.C.T. Initiative, a non-profit focused on reducing crime and violence in Pittsburgh, and the McKeesport chapter of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.

Of his ex-cohort at outside linebacker the past six years, Woodley said, "Cincinnati got a great player in James Harrison -- he brings the experience and he brings the attitude. When we play him, he'll be fired up about it, and I know that our tackles will be fired up about going up against him."

Woodley said that he hadn't met first-round pick Jarvis Jones -- a potential successor to Harrison -- in person, but said that he spoke with him on the phone the night he was drafted.

"I congratulated him and welcomed him to the team and told him just to come in and learn the playbook and get ready to work."