Justin K. Aller
Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook quoted an unnamed Steelers player who questioned whether oft-injured outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley's injuries are the result of not preparing for the season.
It's one of those things everyone knows, but no one of significance says it publicly.
According to Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook, someone finally did.
Cook quotes a teammate of Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley saying Woodley - who missed the majority of the 2012 season after missing half of the 2011 season - isn't in shape, and that lack of conditioning is the reason he's been hurt so often.
"He tells us he works out, but we didn't see it. He wasn't in shape. That has to be a reason why he was always hurt."
Cook is fair on the matter, and contacted Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert for a response. Colbert told Cook Woodley's always carried a lot of weight.
That's true, but not exactly the reassurance one wants from the guy who drafted the weight-carrying Woodley in the second round and signed him to an enormous contract in 2011. Woodley has played in 23 of the Steelers last 33 games, including the playoffs, but left early in many of those due to repeated hamstring injuries.
Woodley was flat-out dominant in 2011 before suffering a hamstring pull against New England in Week 8. He already had two sacks in the game and was chasing quarterback Tom Brady down for a third when he pulled off with the injury. He was essentially ineffective for the remainder of the season.
He notched four sacks in 2012, having missed large amounts of time with injury. Even when he played, he wasn't ever really a factor. Over the last two years, the Steelers have fallen from one best sacking teams in the NFL to the middle of the pack.
Clearly, Cook's source has noticed it, and it's absolutely not been lost on fans who have even gone as far as to call for Woodley's release this offseason.
Such a drastic approach isn't likely warranted at this point, but Woodley will have a very difficult time justifying his inclusion on the roster in 2014 if his 2013 year is like his last 22 games.