LaMarr Woodley Says He’s Not Seeking NFL Return

Don’t call it an official retirement. But don’t call it a comeback, either.

ESPN’s Michael Roberts caught up with former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley in this article for the Worldwide Leader. While Woodley said he hadn’t issued his retirement papers yet, he made it clear he’s not looking to return to the NFL.

From Roberts’ article.

“Pretty much, without the papers,” Woodley said when asked if he was retiring.

Woodley was out of the NFL for the entire 2016 season. His last playtime came in 2015, starting seven games but recording only 10 tackles and a lone sack. Seven of his nine seasons came with the Steelers, who drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2007 draft out of Michigan. He had huge peaks in his career, three straight seasons of double-digit sack totals from 2008 to 2010. The duo of himself and James Harrison made for some of the best pass rushers in the league.

But there were a fair share of lows, too. After receiving a monster contract in 2011, he never lived up to those expectations, never hitting that double-digit sack total again. Injuries piled up, his weight and training became an issue, and by the end of the 2013 season, he was gone. A year with Oakland, that year with Arizona, and his career was over.

In all, he recorded 58 career sacks, 57 of those with the Steelers. He forced another nine fumbles and picked off five passes.

Today, per the ESPN article, Woodley says he’s involved in community and charity work while going to school for his master’s degree. From friends who had class with him, he enrolled at California University in Pennsylvania.

He summed up his career to Roberts.

“So I have nothing to look back on. I went to two Super Bowls, won one, lost one. Been to the Pro Bowl. I’ve set records. You know what I’m saying. I’ve done national things off the field, so I enjoyed it. I have nothing to look back on and say, ‘I wish I would have done that.'”

Here’s some fun highlights to ride off into the sunset with Woodley.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    It feels like forever since he has been here. Not just 3 seasons ago.

  • 20Stoney

    That is a whole lot of sacks for a guy who left under such a cloud of disappointment. More than Greg Lloyd and in a shorter period of time.

  • RickM

    He was a monster. Tough to believe he didn’t get his career back on track when he lost some of that excess weight.

  • 804Stiller

    Loved his attitude when he played and he came up big in a lot of playoff games. Of course, you wish he worked out as hard after his contract but he probably accomplished most of his goals at that point. SB, Pro-Bowl and he got the big contract. He pretty much says as much in the article…………I just know in his prime albeit not that long, he was effective off the edge and played with swag. He was a good interview too. He would say stuff like “you know nobody really wants to see us in the playoffs, etc.” and you believed him……


    Shame he never picked up Silverback’s work ethic.

  • Douglas Andrews

    We gotta find us the next Wood. That guy could move for a big man. Always like Woodley wish it worked out differently for him but I’m glad he sounds content. He had a nice career and smart move to work on his Masters Degree.

  • NW86

    I always felt like Woodley got a little too much venom from the fanbase when the injuries started piling up. It sucked that we had high hopes those years and he wasn’t able to deliver, but his big contract and the Steelers cap situation causing multiple restructures really weren’t his fault. He was the best pass rusher in the league for much of his first 5 years in the league, while quietly playing out his initial 5 year, near league-minimum contract without complaining. So yes, his production didn’t match his contract at the end, but overall, the Steelers got 57 sacks over 7 years, plus he still holds the record for the most playoff sacks, all for less than $40M total. Woodley was also a good locker room guy who never got in trouble on or off the field and did a lot for the community. Overall, we still got their money’s worth out of Wood.

  • Conserv_58

    Woodley’s Steelers’ career was a mirror image of Levon Kirklands. Both played outstanding ball during their rookie contracts which, in turn, earned them each the largest contract extensions of any linebacker in the league at that time. Once they signed those mega contracts they both adopted the dreaded “skate” attitude. They both hated to work out in the off season and each figured that they could just get into shape in camp. Both were beasts and yet, both were lazy.

    Kirkland was an every down linebacker during his rookie campaign. Once Kirkland got paid he would show up to camp 30-35 lbs. over weight and it drove coach Cowher nuts. He’d show up to camp and he couldn’t pass the conditioning test. Cowher would get infuriated with him. It got to the point that during the off season, Cowher made the team’s trainer go to Kirkland’s South Carolina home to get him off of his lazy fat butt and work out. Kirkland’s rookie playing weight was around 260 lbs. His post contract extension playing weight hovered around 275-280. What made matters worse was, Kirkland bought and managed a pizza and wings restaurant near his home. It was reported that he ate two to three dozen wings at a time, at least four out of seven days a week. Levon’s expanded girth prevented him from being an every down linebacker and when it came time for a new contract extension the Steelers let him walk. They were not about to pay him starter money to be a two down linebacker. Levon literally ate himself off of the Steelers’ team. He signed with Philly, played sparingly for two years and was cut. His NFL career was over.

    Woodley’s situation was no different. He got paid, he got lazy and he got booted off of the team. Woodley’s laziness was such an issue with his defensive teammates that Ike Taylor and Ryan Clark publically called him out for it. I remember reading where, Ike invited Woodley to join him in his off season training program. Ike said Woodley thanked him for the offer, but balked at the idea because he didn’t want to have to work out, let alone, that hard. Ike eventually convinced him that he needed to and Woodley, reluctantly, agreed to go. Woodley did workout some in the off season, but it was all upper body work. He never worked out his lower body because he didn’t like it. As a result of his dislike for lower body training, it was during the second half of the Steelers/patriots 2011 game when Woodley blew out his ham string and it essentially ended his season. Woodley’s subsequent lower body injuries ended his career with the Steelers.

    Kendrell Bell, like Woodley, was too lazy for his own good. He only did upper body training in the off season. He never did lower body training because, like Woodley, he hated doing it. Again, like Woodley, leg and groin injuries ended his Steelers’ career.

  • Conserv_58

    Read my post and learn why Woodley earned that venom.

  • ryan72384

    Man him and Harrison together were a force. 2008 it was always a race to the QB between those 2 every play

  • Kevin78

    I have only heard bits and pieces of this information. I would be interested to know where you got the information regarding Kirkland from though. It was so long ago that none of it is fresh in my mind.

    Also, I don’t know if your timing is correct or not. I hadn’t heard any stories about Woodley’s lack of training before his original hamstring injury agaisnt NE. I don’t know why you are attributing that injury to his laziness.

  • Kevin78

    Woodley was the all-time playoff sacker for the Steelers in basically 7 1/2 games. He had that streak going of 2 sack games that is an NFL record. He recorded a sack in every playoff game he participated in except the Denver 2011 game. If you recall, that was the season that got hurt at NE, played a month later part-time, played again 2 weeks later part-time and played part-time in the playoffs. His hamstring kept getting reinjured.

    As to Woodley being out of shape, I don’t recall that ever being his issue prior to his original hamstring injury.

  • RickM

    Statistically the Kirkland part isn’t supported by stats. The guy played 11 years in the NFL and in his last 9 years he started 142 of 144 games. He had 111 tackles/assisted tackles in his 8th year and he even had 100 tackles/assisted tackles in his 10th year with Seattle. Woodley we all know about. But I would love to hear Kirkland’s rebuttal to the suggestion that his career mirrored Woodley’s. He may have had weight issues, but statistically there is simply no comparison.

  • RickM

    You’re right on that one. Woodley pulled his hamstring in Week 8 in 2011 chasing Brady and he already had two sacks in that game. The weight issues really began big-time in 2012.

  • William Weaver

    Considering everything, a successful pick by far. I would be happy with that all again from a second round pick this year.

  • NW86

    Read it. Great story, but I’d like to see your sources.

  • Keith Evans

    great start,…got the contract, got lazy, on and off the field, worst kind of player you could wind up with. if i never hear his name mentioned again i’d be fine.

    If he’d have been the opposite and worked hard, honed his craft and always looked to have gotten better and strived to be the best ever steeler OLB maybe we would have won a couple of more superbowls/games?

    he didn’t, he wasn’t.

  • 6 ring circus

    Could’ve been almost “the best that never was”. He left a lot on the table, but he did secure his future and the next generation’s, too.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    He was a monster. It’s just a real shame that he didn’t have the inner drive to be at his best for as long as possible before the inevitable decline. Same draft class as LT and yet seems to have been irrelevant for a long time.

  • Conserv_58

    I got the information from memory. I’ve been a die hard Steelers fan for many decades and have been immersed in the team’s news. What I have said is straight from the stories written in the Post Gazette and Tribune Review by their Steelers beat writers.

    As for the stories about Woodley being lazy, they are fact. I fully explained why Woodley’s laziness was directly related to his lower body injuries. What about when I said, Woodley hated to run in the off season and therefore, was the direct cause and affect of his ham string and groin injuries didn’t you understand? His own teammates saw how lazy he got after signing his contract extension and they called him out for it, especially, Ike and Ryan Clark.

    It was during the off season one year when I noticed that Woodley was spending a tremendous amount of time every day on facebook and hanging with his homies. Several fans, including me, were telling him to stop spending so much time on social media and to get his butt working out.

  • Conserv_58

    My sources are the Post Gazette, Tribune Review, Steelers’ fan sites etc.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    good. no one wants you.

  • Kevin78

    Your last two paragraphs are nonresponsive. I understood your comment. Apparently, you are not understanding here. I questioned timing. I know of the comments and stories regarding Woodley in later years but not prior to his NE injury. That is what I questioned, if you care to check again. Feel free to prove your point; your memory doesn’t count. Also, do you really think it is okay to go on athletes’ facebook and tell them that they aren’t working hard? As if you know what he does with the rest of his time. You’re a piece of work. I don’t particularly care for further response from the likes of you.

  • corduroyninja

    So is it safe to wear my Woodley jersey again?