Was James Harrison The Anonymous LaMarr Woodley Critic?

By Jeremy Hritz

Recently on steelers.com, an interview with Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley was posted, and a majority of it was focused on the criticism that he received from an anonymous source this off-season.

When Woodley was asked if he ever talked to the person who made the comments, or if he ever attempted to find out who spoke up, he responded by saying, “Actually, I think the anonymous person was next to me in the locker room, but actually that’s my locker next to me. I never had the opportunity to talk to them.”

He went on to say: “No, the anonymous person is right next to me, my locker. It’s my locker so there is no one there. I don’t know who said it.”

If anything, Woodley’s comments are convoluted and are difficult to interpret, but it is interesting that he says that it came from the locker next to him, and that currently, there is “no one there.”

Later in the interview, Woodley is asked specifically about his feelings on losing James Harrison, to which he responds by saying, “It’s part of football. People come and go, but all you can do is work with who’s here. Jason Worilds has been here for a long time. Being that James and I were hurt these past two years, he had a lot of opportunity to get some reps, but now he’s called on to be a starter.”

The interviewer then asks, “How will James Harrison help the Bengals?” Woodley responds tersely, “I don’t know. We’ll see.”

While it is unclear whether or not Woodley was referring to was physically next to him in the locker room this past season, one has to wonder if Harrison was in close proximity. There is no question that Woodley’s allegiance is to the Steelers and that he does not want to see divisional teams succeed; however, it is curious that he was as laconic as he was in the interview when asked about how Harrison will contribute to the Bengals. If Woodley and Harrison were former teammates that had a bond, wouldn’t Woodley have been optimistic about Harrison’s prospects in Cincinnati, or wouldn’t he at least have wished him well? Instead, Woodley states matter-of-factly, “we’ll see.”

The interview closes when Woodley is asked about the impact of losing Casey Hampton and Harrison. Again, Woodley indifferently responds: “We didn’t have a Joey Porter when he left and we adjusted to that…. Guys come and go and you’re pretty sure that the young guys that have come in to replace them are ready to go.” If Woodley even had the slightest disappointment that the Steelers would be without Harrison, wouldn’t he at least said, “we will miss James,” or something of that design?

While I may be reading too much into these comments, something tells me that Woodley, and Harrison too, are going to be bombarded with questions surrounding the anonymous comments as the Steelers and Bengals move through the off-season.

If Harrison did in fact make those comments, which it would not be surprising considering his outspoken nature, the Steelers at Bengals game in week two could be a slugfest of bitter disdain, resentment, and hatred.

This story will be one worth watching closely…

  • Steve

    James had a way with his words. But James’s play spoke for itself. He didn’t like going to see the Prez when they won the Superbowl’s, his family was more important. If Lamar is hurt he can still work out and be in shape. He sounds like a total idiot in how he talked. LaMar need to step up his play and stay in shape else he will be gone. As much as LaMar makes he need to get on his knees and thank the Lord, else he will be brought to his knees by God.

  • Sylky_Mcnasty

    While It would not be hard to attribute those comments to Harrison, I dont think its very characteristic of his previous actions. I am 100% sure Harrison would have put his name to those statements if he had made them. Harrison gave a whole expose where he questioned Big Ben’s leadership, why wouldnt he talk about Woodley, who isnt as highly regard as Big Ben.

  • steeltown

    I don’t see it that way.. no

    And I think Woodley did a good job of keeping his cool, during that “interview” the media was making ME mad with all of the talk about who said what and how, why crap.. they must have asked 4or5 times the same damn questions just worded differently

    Its over… moving on

  • steeltown


  • Jason Brant

    Slow news day, eh?

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    It could have been a number of guys, so it’s not that important who said it. I could see where Harrison’s perspective would be something like, ‘I outplayed Woodley, he makes more money than me, and I am the one who has to take a pay cut,’ and therefore I can see where he would have harbored some ill will at that time.

    What matters is that Woodley produces this year.

  • Intropy

    It sounds more like Woodley was trying to give a non-answer that came off confusing.

    Q: Who was the anonymous person who said it?
    A: This inanimate locker I’m standing next to said it.

  • westcoasteeler

    Exactly…it’s up to Wood to produce. I think the pressure is on him. If Wood has the same kind of season as last year, everyone, including Woods wife, will come out and say the same this year.

  • 2443scott

    as far as james goes i dont see him doing to much because they moved him in bengals he be just a plug in here there and once he dont do any thing special i see them sitting him alot …so i see this as his last year in league ..as far as lamar he was hurt last year so i am not going to complain about him hes been there done that in my opinion

  • Bob Loblaw

    Remember the timing of those comments coming out. Most (rightly) thought that Harrison was either going to take a pay cut or be released. If you’re facing the prospect of hitting the open market, do you really want you throwing a team mate under the bus to be fresh in the minds of front offices everywhere?

    Not saying that Harrison made the comments, but his piece on Ben came out when his contract was fresh and he was performing at a top level. It’s a lot easier to be outspoken when you’ve got a combination of job security and good game performance.

  • Steve below wrote what I intended to write; thank you Steve for saving me 3 minutes, :0)

  • Pete

    Using your own expectations, from what you’ve written, Woodley never said ” we’ll miss Hampton” either. Harrison was a straight shooter and wasn’t afraid to make controversial comments. I don’t see what interesting conclusions you could draw from the comments other than Woodley doesn’t seem interested in having a conversation with the media and constantly being asked about the anonymous comment.

    The entire defense with a bunch of new parts is going to be tested this season. There’s going to be a ton of pressure on Woodley to perform after what happened last season. We’ll see what he brings. Let us not forget that aside from the anonymous comment, Woodley has been criticized publicly multiple times by Butler for his conditioning. I wish Woodley a lot of luck.

  • You kinda sound like a total idiot ‘in how you talk’ too; especially when you mention God.

  • Ahmad

    It could have been him and it may not have been. It really wouldn’t surprise me if it was. However this is definitely something I will keep my eyes on.

  • Steve

    If you only knew football or did your mother ever let you play? I played for the Oliver Bears under Coach Harsh. Who did you play for besides yourself?

  • Yeah, I just played with your mom last night, and I can tell you with certainty that it wasn’t God that brought her to her knees.

  • Steve

    Mikey – James was my favorite player on the team for the past 3 years. After he decked the “Streaker” and said “Anybody between the white lines is legal” he was my hero. When he ran back the 101yrd Touchdown in the SB, I loved it. He is only 5-9, I stood next to him once and I am 5-10. My nickname was “Stumps” in High school but he has Saquias for leggs and can still run like a deer. Maybe only Earl Campbell had Bigger leggs and was faster.

  • Steve

    You probably did, you creap. But my old man is 75 and would kick your A** in a second. He coached football for over 40 years at St. Cyrils, St Leos on the North SIde. Now you don’t have just me on your bu** but all the grown up men that Bernie coached – Pun*. Your old lady got 2 As* Hol*s one she Sh*ts from and one send creapy messages on this cite.

  • You and a bunch of grown up men want to get on my butt, but you’re calling me a ‘creap'(*creep)?

  • Kolie Oak

    Now you sound like an idiot Chris…

  • Kolie Oak

    What’s the big deal??? I wouldn’t doubt it at all if James didn’t confront LaMarr to his face.
    Thats how he rolls, I also wouldn’t doubt it if LaMar shrugged it off…
    This season will determine what LaMar is really all about.

  • Oh, I wonder why Mr. almighty creator, lol. Blow me…

  • joed32

    I don’t care who said what but many of us were thinking the same thing and I hope that Woodley got the message. Now if the media will just let it go, it doesn’t matter anymore, it’s a new year.

  • charles

    Pete could not agree more. Woodley is the only one who controls his destiny. It would be great if he had a 40 million dollar year. Wasn’t that the contract he signed 2 years ago? Good Luck Lamar, but if you get injured or don’t produce at the level you agreed to in your contract, then my patience has been exhausted and hopefully so will Tomlin’s.