Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley wasn't much of a football player last season, but he is getting rave reviews for his portrayal of legendary rapper Jam Master Jay. Woodley, Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns and Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks are featured in a pictorial in the Feb. 18 issue of ESPN The Magazine, recreating an album cover of the iconic hip-hop group Run DMC. Woodley is wonderful in the photographs that have been released and has talked about the painstaking preparation that went into the project.
It's nice to think Woodley will devote the same energy this offseason to his day job.
The Steelers haven't made much news since the NFL season ended, but it's the calm before the storm. General manager Kevin Colbert promised significant changes, which could begin this week. A team that finishes with a disappointing 8-8 record has to make changes. "We'd be silly to expect a better result [with] the same group of guys," Colbert said.
Much of the speculation has centered around linebacker James Harrison. Will he agree to a pay cut or a restructuring of his contract? If he doesn't, will the Steelers release him to save precious money under the NFL salary cap?
The Steelers need Harrison. He missed the first three games last season after knee surgery and took a long time to get into playing shape. But by the end of the season, he was playing good football. He was the same disruptive force he used to be on a defense that, despite impressive statistics, badly needed one.
Harrison will turn 35 in May, but that's not as much of an issue with him as it is with other players. He is the Steelers' hardest worker. He trains maniacally. Unlike last year, he will get in all of the off-season work. He will be ready to go when training camp opens in July. He should have a big season.
It's not as if Jason Worilds can step in and take Harrison's place. He's a good pass rusher and had five sacks as a part-time starter last season, but there is more to the outside linebacker position than that. Steelers linebacker Larry Foote often talked of how Harrison "pushed back the line of scrimmage" on running plays, especially later in the season. Worilds doesn't appear to have the size or power to do that.


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