The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to restructure the contract of linebacker LaMarr Woodley again this offseason despite his poor production in 2012. Assuming that restructure happens, it will show that the organization has confidence that Woodley will rebound in 2013.
General manager Kevin Colbert was asked about Woodley during his talk with the media last week at the NFL combine.
“LaMarr Woodley has been a significant player on some very successful teams, and we’re happy that he’s part of our team,” Colbert said. “If you talk to LaMarr he’d be the first to tell you that he was disappointed in his performance. Going forward, he’s going to try to erase that season.”
Woodley of course was recently the target of an anonymous Steelers player, who told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the linebacker was awful last season and out of shape. That comment resulted in several Steelers players being asked about the state of the locker room and Woodley specifically.
Colbert defended his linebacker and said that he was more disappointed in the anonymous player more than anything else.
“I was bothered by the fact it was an anonymous comment,” Colbert told the media. He later continued, “Am I disappointed by the comment? Only in the sense it was anonymous, and I don’t give any credence to any comment that isn’t attributed. That’s a bigger disappointment to me than anything LaMarr Woodley did or didn’t do for us last year.”
Did the Steelers really have a choice as to whether or not to restructure Woodley? Let\’s just say that they would have to be very creative at freeing up $6 million plus another way if they didn\’t. There is always an alternative, but some of those alternatives might have included terminating a player that they didn\’t really want to terminate or restructuring another player that poises an even greater risk than Woodley does.
Woodley, who reportedly has started his offseason training out in Arizona, certainly knows who is saying what about him right now. Safety Ryan Clark has even admitted to texting him after the anonymous comments were made. Trust me, Woodley knows that he has to have a Pro Bowl-type of season in 2013.
At 28 years of age Woodley is far from done. His hamstring and ankle injuries certainly did not help his cause last season. Was he out of shape as the anonymous player suggested? Perhaps. Last year is now last year, however, and I am fine with the Steelers restructuring him again this offseason. I think he will indeed bounce back and be the Woodley of old in 2013. The Steelers certainly seem to think so as well.