Pittsburgh Steelers Cut LaMarr Woodley, Such A Waste

The Pittsburgh Steelers are parting ways with outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley.  There’s relief that comes with that statement for many of us who have been frustrated with the seven year veteran over his last few years of far too many injuries and too few sacks and big plays when the Steelers defense really needed one.  There’s also a feeling of remorse; having to pay a player as much money as the Steelers have since Woodley’s contract extension, restructuring other players’ contracts to help keep him on the team, and, in the end, still having to pay a substantial cap hit even after a post June 1st official release.

What a waste.

Many had high hopes for Woodley after he racked up 35 sacks between the 2008 and 2010 season.  Seasons 2011-2013 (post contract extension), Steeler Nation had to witness and hear about an overweight, out of shape, and poor attitude in the locker room stay puft waddle his way through camp, put up poor numbers, and finally end each season prematurely with some type of nagging injure – mainly due from not staying in shape during the offseason.

Some questioned Woodley’s extension much in the same way that some will question the Steelers extending Jason Worilds contract (if and when that happens).  A couple of good seasons, and the Steelers were ready to throw down the cash to keep the tandem that helped them get deep into the playoffs and eventually to the Super Bowl – Woodley and James Harrison.  Hindsight is always 20/20, and it turns out that the Woodley extension was a huge mistake.  Now the Steelers are swallowing a lot of dead money in order to ensure that the defense (more specifically the LB core) can continue moving in the positive direction it was towards the end of last season.

December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (56) reacts on the sidelines against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

So why the ‘hero’s fall’ for Woodley?  Maybe it’s a combination and consequence from a defense that’s spiraled pitifully downward since the loss to Tim Tebow and his Broncos.  Yes I brought that up.  But that was the first time in a long time that our defense looked outmatched, out coached, and simply “old and slow.”  Woodley barely showed up to play that game – getting just two measly tackles and absolutely no pressure on a quarterback who has not started another game in the NFL since that fateful January night.  Since then, Woodley’s been a shell of that young man from the 2008-2010 seasons.  Instead of wearing a superhero’s cape with an emblem of the Steelers logo on the back, he’s ninja kicked his way to grey sweats and the sidelines – and now to the open market.

The economics are there, and it makes sense for the Steelers to part ways with Woodley and focus on signing other needs and other worthier players to this roster.  But this appears to be a spiritual cleansing as well; a departure from someone who failed expectations due to what ultimately became a poor attitude for this team and a liability on the field by being off it so much.  It leaves a sour taste in ones mouth that so much opportunity was left on the table with this guy.  Well he crapped in his own bed, and now he gets to lay in it.  This isn’t the last we’ll hear of Woodley.  There’s already been reports of interest from teams like the Tennessee Titans.  I just hope The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden is well stocked if he’s headed to Nashville.

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  • TiVoMan

    Good article, Craig. I agree completely. Who knew how Woodley would change after his fat, new contract? Thank goodness that doesn’t happen to big-money players too often (unless they get a major injury, and they kind of “give up”) . Most players have a lot more respect for themselves their own reputation, the effect on the owners who overpaid them, the whole team that they let down, etc.,. I don’t see that same personality in Worilds. Also, I hope the obvious shame that Woodley caused himself and the harsh disappointment he brought to many others should motivate Jason to set a much better example!
    Wouldn’t it be something if whichever team picks LaMarr up (and someone will, just like Cincy did with James Harrison) finds someone who could counsel/motivate/hypnotize, etc. him so that he would work hard to return SOMEWHAT to his “former self”? He COULD have a few good years left in him, but I doubt that anyone could help him turn his life around. (But does the name Dave Parker come to mind as a parallel in baseball? When he left the Bucs for Cincy, somehow he turned things around and shocked EVERYONE by having some more really great years! Grrrrrr…..for Dave. I have no love or respect for him, for sure!)

    • Kyle

      Just come out and say it: You caught LaMarr sleeping with your wife. It’s okay. He’s a handsome dude.

      • Craig

        Can we get a slow applause and congratulate him on the high school comment of the week? I thought your mom jokes died a long time ago. Who knew?…..

        • TiVoMan

          Thank you, Craig. I thought Kyle’s comment was both classless and irrelevant. On some sites a comment like that would be applauded by some other nitwits.
          I shared my honest opinions and insights about both Woodley and Parker, and I see a parallel in their behavior and attitudes.
          (Btw, Kyle, my wife and I have been married a long time, have a great relationship, and neither of us has, nor ever will. want or need to have a fling with anyone else.)

          • Kyle

            It was a joke about the tone of this conversation, a figure of speech, so to speak – but I see you all don’t do jokes here.
            Usually when a player who has done well for a team, was a key cog in winning a championship, gave back to the community both in Pittsburgh and his hometown, was never a problem with the law, and whose body simply expired after hitting the average tenure of an NFL player – well, usually, a “class” fan would think – “Thanks LaMarr for the handful of great years, sad it didn’t last longer. We have to part ways now, but best of luck on your next stop.”

          • Kyle

            But that attitude would require a level of nuance not found on this site. It’s easier (and lazier) to say he was a bum, “bad rubbish,” who “doesn’t respect himself” and needs to “turn his life around.”
            How was his attitude bad? Because he wouldn’t give the money back? Or play for free? Did he not send a personal apology for having gimpy legs?
            Don’t forget folks, he’s the one wearing a ring, not you. He’s more Steeler than you are.

          • TiVoMan

            Wow, look now who turned from “funny” to nasty….

            Take a poll among those “in the know” re: the Steelers in the Burgh, and then come back and tell us how many believe Woodley’s main problem was “gimpy legs”. To quote from Craig’s excellent article above, “Steeler Nation had to witness and hear about an overweight, out of shape, and poor attitude in the locker room stay puft waddle his way through camp, put up poor numbers, and finally end each season prematurely with some type of nagging injury – mainly due from not staying in shape during the offseason.”
            Perhaps you are the one who needs to read more carefully, see if your opinions are shared by the majority of truly knowledgeable Steeler fans, and do less commenting on sites like this—-whether it be nasty “humor” or venting when your feelings get hurt.
            No one is questioning how valuable LaMarr was at one time, but that is no excuse for what he became right after he got the big money. If any of us put in a few excellent years at our job, but then don’t get the work done for several years after that (for whatever reason(s)), we would be looking for work elsewhere. And I don’t think that the gang at work would be holding a celebration party for “what you used to do for us”. That’s hard, but that’s life.

          • Kyle

            Perhaps I am being too lenient of his poor conditioning. I get that. But he’s not the Albert Haynesworth or Aaron Hernandez that he’s being made out to be. I bet he got by, and got by very well right up until that Pats game a couple years ago, without doing much off-season work in his life. Turned out he hit an age that he needed it and he was slow to catch on. That’s on him. But I don’t think he signed a big contract then began phoning it in because he was a fat cat. Maybe I’m just sentimental. I wish him well. As for locker room stuff, none of us were there, and he wasn’t some media distraction, to it’s tough to be certain on any of that type of stuff.

          • TiVoMan

            Thanks, Kyle. Now I think we are approximately on the same page. I never thought about him perhaps not being used to working out and keeping in shape in the offseason until he got injured in the Pats game. I guess some very talented people are able to take things for granted in their lives. Then when they get injured or have some other major problems in their lives, they don’t know how to “get things back to the way they always used to be”. Good point.
            Since there’s really no way for any of us to get inside his head to know what he was thinking, or why he was thinking it, I guess we may never know. I just hate to see special talent like he had(still has?) “go to waste”. (I never had that problem!)

          • Kyle

            Fair points, all. I wish him well against every team that doesn’t play in Pittsburgh.

          • Craig

            Dejan Kovacevic from Trib Live reported this back in December of 2013….

            “Upon joining the Steelers from Michigan, Woodley was among the most approachable, amicable players in the team’s circle. But he has changed dramatically, no doubt coinciding with his dropoff. He has become abrasive and aggressive with people inside and outside the team. He has also consistently found a way to blame everyone for his dropoff except the man in the mirror. It’s been ugly and uncomfortable to watch.”

            Link here: http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacevic/dejancolumns/5264222-74/woodley-steelers-worilds#axzz2vmI3H7n9

            There’s the locker room stuff I was talking about (and where I base my argument though I never quoted Kovacevic prior). I rest my case with Woodley. Thanks for the three good years, good riddance due to your irresponsibility and attitude after signing a big contract.

          • Craig

            Tone is difficult to discern over the internet, my friend. It’s cool. As for everything else you’re saying here and below – TiVo beat me to the punch and I agree with him. I didn’t say Woodley was a waste his whole time here. He just became a waster AFTER he signed his big contract.
            How did I know his attitude was poor? – it was well known and reported that he had a bad attitude in the locker room. Not much of a team guy. Had nothing to do with money.

            Woodley’s body did not ‘simply exired after hitting average tenure.’ HE’S 29! Between the ages of 27-29 he was overweight, out of shape, and did not work hard in the off season. THAT’S why he wasn’t very good during the season. THAT’S why he became riddled with nagging injuries that kept him off the field more than on.

            But knowing these things about players ‘requires a level of nuance’ that maybe you just don’t have, wouldn’t you agree?

        • bigmikereese

          Don’t be rediculus. Your mom jokes will N E V E R D I E!!! E V E R. Obviously you would like them to have died. But they didn’t and won’t… game, who got NEXT and do you got em all?

      • Guest

        And Kyle wins the idiot of the week award!

        • Kyle

          Thank you, “Guest,” this award means so much!

  • Dom DiTolla

    As I have stated multiple times since the 2010 regular season ended the “economics” were never there with Woodely’s disaster of a deal from the beginning. Shelf-life of these OLBs is short to begin with, and only the elite at the position can sustain a high level of success for more than a four-five year period.

    Had the luxury of playing on one of the league’s best defenses during his prime and next to the likes of Aaron Smith and across the formation from Deebo. Piss poor training habits, the weight gain, constant injuries and Dick LeBeau’s penchant for using him in pass coverage too often only accelerated Woodley’s demise in Pittsburgh.

    In addition, what I crowed about the most in that post, was that cap space should have been allocated to rebuilding what was a rapidly calcifying roster and locking up the young talent already under contract (M. Wallace) or talent outside the organization at positions of (still) dire need (O-Line).

    While I don’t want to blame the Woodley extension for all of Pittsburgh’s current woes. It in my opinion is an enormous reason why the team is in financially dire straits at the moment and lacks competent pieces at certain positions on their roster.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.