Steelers' 2011 Big Money Guys: LB Lawrence Timmons Asked To Do a Lot

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 03: Willis McGahee #23 of the Baltimore Ravens tries to escape the tackle of Lawrence Timmons #94 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 3 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Baltimore won the game 17-14. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced a contract extension was signed by LB Lawrence Timmons on Aug. 23, 2011, a deal over five years reportedly paying him $50 million.

No one probably saw this as a premonition, but former Steelers LB James Farrior said, at the time, "They paid him a boatload of money. He's definitely going to be asked to do a lot of things he wouldn't normally be asked."

Like playing outside linebacker, for example. That happened four times in 2012 - Weeks 4-8.

The results weren't exactly worthy of a contract of that size.

Clearly, Timmons is not a suitable option outside for the Steelers in their current defense. Giving up quite a bit in terms of size compared with regular starters, James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, Timmons disappeared often off the edge, and while the Steelers won all four of those games, their pass rush was virtually non-existent on his side of the ball (he played on Harrison's right side in his absence due to a broken orbital bone in his eye).

When playing inside, Timmons showed his value throughout most of the season. He played the second-most snaps 1,050 to CB Ike Taylor's 1,065) of all Steelers defenders last year, and led the linebackers by almost 300 (Farrior played 779).

It may not have been Timmons' best overall year, but his consistency, as well as the fact he turned 26 in May and already has six seasons under his belt, has to leave the Steelers excited about the kid who's now an experienced veteran.

If anything, they'd have to be excited about this. In a Pittsburgh Magazine article dated October, 2011, a phenomenal story about Timmons' high school days paints the portrait of a fierce competitor. One who could have been called a Steelers kind of player even when he was 18.

Timmons was supposed to block a puny cornerback, bow his head and accept defeat. Instead, he turned his sights to the opposition's star linebacker, churned his legs like a runaway locomotive and single-handedly crashed the victory party.

"I cleaned the guy's clock," Timmons deadpans.

"It was one of the hardest hits I've ever witnessed," says Wilson High coach Darryl Page. "Lawrence knocked the guy's cleats over his helmet."

The air went out of the stadium. The woozy linebacker uprooted himself from the sod and stood up, flailing like a dancing balloon on a used car lot. One step, two step ... drop. He made a snow angel in the mud as time expired.

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