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
If Pittsburgh Steelers are going to rebound from a disastrous 2012 campaign and make it back to the postseason, they’ll need outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley to regain his Pro Bowl form in 2013. Woodley has missed nine games over the past two seasons due to hamstring and ankle injuries. It doesn’t help that he has four sacks in the past 13 games that he’s played
During the 2012 season, an unnamed Steelers teammate called out Woodley, saying the reason he was always hurt was because he was out of shape. This led to the perception of a fractured locker room, and rightfully so, as the Steelers went from being in the thick of the AFC North race, to watching the Bengals come into Pittsburgh and knock them right out of postseason contention. It was just he third time in the past decade that the Steelers weren’t playing football in mid-January, and they believe this year won’t be aa repeat of 2012.
So it comes as no surprise there will be pressure on Woodely to perform well in 2013, as the Steelers won’t keep paying like he’s a Pro Bowl LB for much longer if he doesn’t, and linebackers coach Keith Butler echoed those sentiments:
"We talked about it. You think about the logistics of the NFL: A team is paying you $7-8 million dollars and they aren’t paying you to watch from the sidelines. I am a coach and they don’t pay me $7-8 million to stand on the sidelines and that’s what he’s been doing. If you are not on the field, you can’t earn your money. They might pay for one year, but they aren’t going to pay for the next year. That is the matter-of-fact of the NFL."