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Steelers LB coach says Woodley is “where we need to have him’



Mark Kaboly  | Tribune-Review


You can be assured that Steelers linebacker coach Keith Butler will tell you like it is. There’s no punches pulled with him, that’s for sure.


Butler is the one who said last year during training camp that linebacker LaMarr Woodley “needs to get his big butt into shape” when talking about the injury-plagued and out-of-shape 2011 season for high Woodley.


A year later that included another out-of-shape, injury-filled, sub-par performance year, Butler pulled no punches again when it came to his outside linebacker.


This time, it was nothing but positive.


“Right now, Wood is where we need to have him,” Butler said. “He looks good. He looks real good.”


Woodley was widely criticized by just about everybody (including his teammates) for not being in top shape during a 2012 season in which he missed three games and collected only four sacks on the heels of signing a six-year, $61.5 million deal in 2011 that made him the second highest paid player on the team behind Ben Roethlisberger.


Butler said he talked to Woodley in the offseason about getting into better shape.


“We talked about it,” Butler said. “You think about the logistics of the NFL: A team is paying you $7-8 million dollars and they aren’t paying you to watch from the sidelines. I am a coach and they don’t pay me $7-8 million to stand on the sidelines and that’s what he’s been doing. If you are not on the field, you can’t earn your money. They might pay for one year, but they aren’t going to pay for the next year. That is the matter-of-fact of the NFL.”


Woodley worked out in Arizona during the offseason and is visibly in better shape than he’s been in over the past couple years. Woodley has yet to speak publicly since the start of training camp last week.


The Steelers are need of a big season from Woodley, especially with James Harrison gone from the other side.


Woodley has 52 career sacks in six years but only 13 came over the past two years. He’s missed nine games over the past two years because of hamstring and ankle injuries.


Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug


  1. Mike B says:

    Good to see him respond to himself. The criticism has been there but he knows himself what he needed to do to get better. He’s coming off getting married last offseason and is really a good guy, just needed to recommit to the game.

  2. Gino says:

    Didn’t we hear and see videos of Ziggy Hood being in great shape a year ago? How did that work out? All this is…is chat for writers and talk shows. It’s a shame that he did that to his career and the fans and his teammates deserve better. Hopefully Woodley is in great shape – physically & mentally – but more importantly let’s hope he has the drive to getting back to elite status. Right now all of this stuff is just talk. Lets see what he does in week 1 and throughout the year. Everyone is positive and in first place in July.

  3. Jay says:

    He will be gone next offseason. With all the restructures what is he making against the cap 11-12 million. Im pretty sure he will underachieve again and prove he is the most overrated LB in the NFL. He has been for 2 years now.

  4. chethejet says:

    Make or break year for him and he knows it. He has to show he is worth that financial commitment. If he is found lacking he will be cut next year effective June 1. Dumped Colon this year, for same reason. He will need to return to top form and can’t have injuries due to conditioning.

  5. Dave says:

    Still pretty pathetic that he basically got fat and lazy after signing his big deal and wasted an entire year as a result. These guys, (especially Steelers) shouldn’t need this type of wake up call. I guess everyone can’t be a Hines or an Ike.

  6. CURTIS LOGAN says:


  7. Blaine says:

    Jay…you’re stupid!

  8. Thomas says:

    Overrated is probably the wrong word. I an agree with under achieving since clearly his play that earned the big contract showed what he is capable of when at the top of his game!

  9. Bonnie C says:

    It’s time… he’ll be playing lights out…he loves it in Pittsburgh and in order to stay, he will have to perform!

  10. Micky says:

    Don’t hold your breath! This guy doesn’t really care what anyone thinks.he will wat himself off the roster

  11. Micky says:

    He will eat himself off the roster

  12. […] now, Wood is where we need to have him,” Linebacker coach Keith Butler said via Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He looks good. He looks real […]

  13. MauiSteeler says:

    Difference between Ziggy and Woodley is that WE KNOW Woodley is a proven beast when he is in shape. Woodley has shown us his capability, which got him the big bucks.

    Ziggy has never shown elite ability at the NFL level so even in the best shape of his life we had no way of knowing how that SHAPE would translate into his play

  14. MauiSteeler says:

    Actually, he always came to camp not at his best and got in shape as the year goes on and thus was at his best during the playoffs. No change he ALWAYS starts slow.

    Ironically, contrary to your comments he was on a record pace in 2011 after he signed his deal.

    He had all nine of his sacks in the first 8 games of that season. He was on pace to break Harrisons record and got hurt midway through that season.

    He had a 4 game stretch leading up to the injury with 1.5, then 2, then 2, then another 2 sacks. That is the best regular season stretch in his career. I dont think a lack of playing shape factored into that injury as he had already played himself into shape earlier than he typically does.

    The difference between now and earlier seasons has nothing to do with the contract. It is is that Woodley cannot afford to continue to do what he ALWAYS did as he gets older.

  15. […] now, Wood is where we need to have him,” Butler said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He looks good. He looks real […]

  16. […] coach Keith Butler said that Woodley is “where we need to have him” and that the linebacker “looks good.” He also mentioned that Woodley has lost a good amount […]

  17. Bill Simones says:

    Give it a rest. Linebacker is the least of the Steelers worries. They need to be more concerned about winning games with nothing but field goals. Do something about the offense and Big Ben trying to make plays out of nothing. How many games did he cost the Steelers last year? Been a Steelers fan my whole life, but his performance last year was pathetic.

  18. […] talked about it,” Butler said, via Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “You think about the logistics of the NFL: A team is paying you $7-8 million dollars and they […]

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