Steelers Coach Keith Butler Says LB LaMarr Woodley Has Lost Significant Weight

After the 2012 season ended, an anonymous Pittsburgh Steelers player told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley was awful last season and not in shape.

“He tells us he works out, but we didn\’t see it,” Cook reported the unnamed player as saying back in February. “He wasn\’t in shape. That has to be a reason why he was always hurt.”

Over the course of the entire offseason, Woodley\’s commitment to conditioning has been questioned. Several of his teammates have had his back and Woodley himself has insisted his poor play in 2012 was mainly because of a high ankle sprain that wouldn\’t allow him to be the dominant force on the left side that he once was just a few short years ago.

“You know last year we talked about the hamstring, but you keep forgetting most of the games I missed was due to the high ankle sprain,” Woodley said Wednesday. “The ankle just took time to heal. Throughout the season, when you have a high ankle sprain, you\’re struggling to push back each and every day throughout practice trying to get back. Sometimes you set yourself back in practice and don\’t even know it. Then you try to go out there in a game and it\’s just not 100 percent.”

“So what I did before I went out to Arizona, I\’d just take time. Even when I was out there in Arizona my ankle was still bothering me, but it took time to heal.”

So what does Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler think about the 2013 version of his left outside linebacker so far in training camp? He\’s already said he looks good, but apparently revealed on Thursday that Woodley has dropped some weight over the course of the offseason.

According to Will Graves of the Associated Press on Twitter, Butler said Woodley was playing at 295-300 pounds the last couple years, but that\’s down significantly right now. Butler also reportedly said  Woodley knows the waiver wire is filled with high dollar free agents who were released because they weren\’t living up to what they were being paid. When Butler was asked if 2013 was a “prove it” year for Woodley, the coach was straight forward with his response without singling out the Michigan product individually.

“It\’s a prove it year for everybody in that room,” Butler said.

Woodley also said on Wednesday that he hopes to rush the quarterback more in 2013 than he did last year, because he feels he is paid to do just that. That sounds nice in theory, but defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau won\’t be altering his scheme just so his left outside linebacker won\’t have to drop as much into pass coverage.

Should Woodley have a repeat performance of 2012 this year, he still isn\’t likely to be released next offseason as his dead money charge would be $14.17 million if cut prior to June 1. That\’s just too tough to absorb. Nothing is guaranteed, however, and even Butler made that point clear to Graves.

Every year if we don\’t do well, we all get fired,” he said. “I wish America was like that, we\’d all be more productive.”

  • steeltown

    Normally I would say the 300lb remark is bit exaggerated, that would put Woodley around the same size as Hood… but if you look back at last year, Woodley did look about the same size as Hood

  • Mike.H

    Didn’t Lebeau last season state Woodley was the same weight and not the cause of his drop off in production? m’m…?

  • Intropy

    Those sprains do linger. I got one about six years ago playing soccer. Took a week before walking stopped hurting and a month until it was fully healed. Or so I thought until I tried to go back to karate class. Really it took about six months to be okay, and truth be told it’s still not as good as it was and never will be.

  • Shea Fahr

    I really think Woodley will bounce back this year but I try to not assume the Steelers drafted Jarvis to take over for Harrison. Jason Worilds is going to have a lot to say about how this pans out. If the starting OLBs in 3 years are Jones and Worilds, I cannot say I would be surprised.

  • steeltown

    I wouldn’t either,.. though I think Woodley will bounce back.
    This Defense is built around 3-4 OLBs rushing the passer, with the realization that Harrison was exiting, Chris Carter not panning out and Woodley underperforming and plagued with injury I think drafting Jarvis was an easy decision for them

  • Shea Fahr

    Exactly! Bring in people able to Compete.

  • JohnnyV1

    Woodley is full of excuses. He was simply not doing everything in his power to be in the best shape he could be. Since Woodley signed his contract in July 2011, his stats are;
    2011 G 10, GS 10, Combined Tackles 39, Sacks 9;
    2012 G 13, GS 13, Combined Tackles 38, Sacks 5.
    Those stats are no commensurate with his level of pay, and they were going down. Sounds like he’s headed up, hope it’s true.

  • Bob Loblaw

    There’s always a lot of smoke and mirrors when it comes to player’s weight.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    If Woodley can’t live up to his contract and Worilds has a monster year, Woodley very well could be cut. Wouldn’t surprise me at all. Worilds moves back to his more comfortable side….Jones starts.

  • sgtrobo

    100% agreed on the copmete, but Worilds? well, it’s up to Woodley entirely. He’s dominant when he wants to be. Seems like he got his “want-to” back

  • sgtrobo

    excuses or no excuses, he had 7.5 sacks in the 4 games Harrison was gone in 2011, prior to getting injured. Maybe he let his injury mess with his head? regardless, he stole a paycheck last season as much or more than anybody on this team

  • charles

    This may be the year Colbert is made or broken. Two years ago Woodley got the big contract on D. Last year for the O it was Antonio. I am a big fan of AB and hope (with doubts) that Woodley can be the MVP on D. But Colbert has made clear what and who he values. These players both have to earn the big money that Colbert gave them.
    Furthermore Mr Colbert has used the last two years to try and solidify O and D lines. This year may be a testament to his player evaluations.
    Iwould also like to intone that Mr. Tomlin had to tiptoe lightly his first couple of years. This is Cowher’s team no more with Mr. T having three years to develop HIS players.
    We don’t have Harrison for Goodell the dope to make an example of and Tomlin’s history of defensive coaching always had some good big hitters. I am looking for Tomlin’s influence on the Steelers and you always have to like the big hitters. Who doesn’t remember Timmons shadowing Chris Johnson last year. Timmons kept hitting him so hard he did not look like he wanted the ball anymore. Timmons hit him in the backfield causing Johnson to fumble. But Johnson did not go after the fumble, he just stood there. (Kinda looked like Maddox just before Ben took over) . This should be the year for Tomlins mature version of the Steelers. Maybe Harrison can keep Goodell’s mind over to the BenGALS.

  • charles

    Colbert is a little bit of a gambler: Rainey, Saunders, Taamu, and Adams. I support that in a measured way LOL.But Jones was an undersized, medically debateable big time number one Gamble.

  • Douglas Andrews

    For what its worth I saw Woodley in person last year right before the Raiders game in street clothes. I’d say the 300lb was about right and might be a litte generous. At first glance I thought he was an O lineman.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I remember Lavon Kirkland was playing around 300lbs by the end of his career and he always had ankle problems too.

  • steeltown

    Not sure why everyones so down on Worilds, guy had more sacks than most of the Team last season with 1/2 the playing time.. its not C.Carter we’re talking about here

  • sgtrobo

    that’s like stepping in dog poop and saying, “well, no reason to complain, it’s not as bad as stepping in cow poop!”

  • steeltown

    The guy has never been a full time starter, if he fails to produce THIS year as a full time starter then badmouthing him is justified. Don’t hate on him because he had to sit behind 2 Pro Bowl LBs Harrison and Woodley for 3yrs

    When he did start, he produced

  • sgtrobo

    I’ll be happy if he beats an offensive tackle for a sack.