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.
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.