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…