LaMarr Woodley: ‘In Pittsburgh They Said I Was Out Of Shape’

The Pittsburgh Steelers parted ways with linebacker LaMarr Woodley early in the offseason and it didn’t take him too long to find a home with the Oakland Raiders. Woodley, who missed 14 games over the past three season with hamstring, ankle and calf injuries, says his weight really doesn’t matter now that he’s a 4-3 defensive end with the Raiders.

“You know in Pittsburgh they said I was out of shape, fat anyway,” Woodley told Raiders.com. “So I didn’t have to do much at all. I’ve been this size my whole career. The only reason I weighed too much in Pittsburgh was because I was asked to chase guys like your size down the field. And now, playing defensive end, I don’t have to be, it doesn’t matter. The main thing is getting after the quarterback.”

We will likely never know whether or not Woodley’s injury issues while in Pittsburgh were related to his weight, poor conditioning or just bad luck. He was a pillar of health and producing during his first four and a half seasons with the Steelers, but once he suffered a hamstring injury against the New England Patriots midway through the 2011 season, he never seemed to ever be able to return to his old form.

Woodley played defensive end during his college career at Michigan and he never kept it a secret that he would much rather rush the quarterback instead of dropping into coverage while with the Steelers as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He’ll get his wish now that he’s with the Raiders and he said that he thinks that change plays more to his strengths.

“You know my whole life I’ve pretty much played defensive end. All through college I played defensive end, when I got drafted, that’s when I switched to outside linebacker. And I just had to make the adjustment to that. It wasn’t easy at first, now going back to defensive end is just like going back to what I’ve normally been doing.”

If Woodley can return to his old form in Oakland and stay on the field, he’ll likely be a solid addition for the Raiders. While the Raiders won’t play the Steelers this season unless the two teams meet in the playoffs, they do play the Cleveland Browns in Week 8. By then, there’s a good chance that Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel will be under center by then. If he’s still healthy come that time, we’ll get to see Woodley chase the former Heisman Trophy winner around.

  • Ike Evans

    Dont you ppl start trying to come at Woodley…let it go…hope he has a healthy year in oakland

  • letownia

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we witness a resurgence of Woodley in Oakland but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a mistake to let Woodley go- injured, overpaid, and could be in better shape.

  • DB84

    He was great for us for 4 years. Too bad he couldn’t have stuck around but injuries happen and we couldn’t keep paying him like that. Best of luck Woodley

  • Bradys_Dad

    Best of luck LW. Loved ya here – like ya there. Life goes on.

  • Paddy

    Still remembering him burying Flacco time and again

  • Jacque Strappe

    I’d lay a benjamin that he doesn’t make it past week 8 without some sort of injury.

  • Gotta be in the game and not in sweats to have a resurgence. I’m rooting for him, but I won’t be holding my breath.

  • walter mason

    He appears to have the same lay back and laugh attitude: “so I didnt have to do much at all” and “I dont have to be, (in shape?) it doesnt matter” … Maybe he will do well in Oakland just showing up. I too miss the way he used to toss QBs to the ground.

  • treeher

    If we’re so weak at DE (according to all the discussion) then why wouldn’t we have tried Wood at that position?

  • 804Stiller

    Agreed, he was a good player until the end. Plus, I just liked his confidence and pride for wearing the jersey. Woodley was quick to say, “nobody wants to see us in the playoffs!” I, also, hope he has a productive career other than games against us…………

  • Rick

    Because he was hurt.

  • Rick

    He was a good player until three years ago, after that he was hurt and non effective. With that said he was always one of my favorite players.

  • Louis Goetz

    Woodley was quickly becoming one of the all-time greats. In his 1st three years he had 39 sacks, plus eight more in just four play-off games. Let’s not forget that in addition to the heroics of Harrison, Ben and Santonio, SB XLIII ended with Wood strip sacking K. Warner. I still have two signed pictures of him in my office that I’m not gonna take down. In the 1st he’s leap frogging over Harrison after P. Rivers got abused. In the second he and Deebo are sandwiching Favre, with Wood hitting him in front and the Silverback from behind. With a contract as large as Woodley’s 6-year 61.5M extension was (incl. a ridiculous $22.5M in bonuses) the team simply couldn’t get out from under continuous cap problems. Add to that the injuries and the Steelers simply had no choice. With the exception of franchise quarterbacks, I doubt we’ll see the Steelers give out contracts like the ones he, Timmons and Harrison received in ’09, ’10 and ’11.

  • walter mason

    I hope he is productive too but all I was hearing is denial. And now he says he can play fat and out of shape at DE!!. Instead of saying he will try harder to get into shape, he says he doesnt have to do much at all and it doesnt matter if hes out of shape to play DE. It just seems to me the man says all the wrong things.

  • Jonas

    To short, to light, no line technique..
    Do you know the difference between 4-3 and 3-4 DEs? (not offensive)

  • aaron walter

    No disrespect to woodley but look at the D line his first few seasons. Not to mention Harrison on the other side. I feel like he was setup to succeed even though he wasn’t playing his “natural” position. I wish him the best of luck….except when we play the raiders

  • Jason

    I was really ready to come at him too until I read your post. Oh well I’m done bashing him anyway, he’s Oakland’s problem now.

  • John

    If he wanted to play D end he should of left for free agency after his rookie contract but no he signed the big deal and stopped trying dont tell us this stuff how we said u were over weight u were being paid to play olb not DE lazy just lazy good luck.

  • Jason

    Do you know the difference between to and too. Sorry Jonas couldn’t resist. I usually don’t police grammar.

  • steelant

    shouts out to Woodley for his years with us but good luck wit Oakland hope for the best though

  • Steve

    Funny thing was, last year Coach Butler said “Wodley’s in the best shape of his life”. When the wheels fell off, his weight went up. Lots of luck LW, especially if the Raiders move to San Antonio.

  • Hard Row

    He’s not really disputing he was out of shape, just saying that it won’t be an issue in Oakland because they don’t expect him to run as much.

    He was a good player but could have been better by at least avoiding injuries if he stayed in better shape.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I’ve said this for years: Harrison made Woodley great, as the QB’s were so terrified of Silverback they often practically walked right into Woodley’s waiting arms. Just wait about 10 years. It will take that long for many others to appreciate how truly amazing Harrison was for the Steelers.

  • Zurich1012

    Woodley is a good player. Was a good Steeler. He just couldn’t stay healthy.

  • srdan

    And suggs paying back on 7. lol

    love that rivalry

  • srdan

    thats a good bet on any football player in the NFL

  • Thomas Mandichak

    I loved watching Woodley play but the injuries got the best of him real quick. I don’t know about being out of shape but every offseason I saw a lot of posts from him on facebook about losing weight and shaping up to be faster but then the season started and there was no change at all. Not even in his weight. Some games it just seemed as if he wasn’t even trying. Then again losing Harrison may have had something to do with that.

  • Jonas

    Okay, I give you that.. 😉
    Not a native speaker, I guess I didn’t read what I thought!

    Still, I really did not mean it offensive, I just wasn’t sure if he’s joking or simply don’t know these differences.

  • Kyle Owens

    I have nothing but postive things to say about Woodley. A great player when healthy, I hope he can get back to form in Oakland.

  • walter mason

    Being out of shape will not be an issue? Im sorry but his attitude is very poor. Yea I agree maybe he will fit in at Oakland if they dont expect much hustle from their players

    First he denied he was out of shape and now he denies it will be an issue. Wow.

  • walter mason

    Im hoping he not finished. One more year.