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Woodley gives back to local kids

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 26, 2013 – 10:00 am

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley made Christmas a lot brighter for 100 kids at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. Woodley, through his foundation, hosted a Christmas Eve party for the kids, complete with Santa Claus and gifts.

“Doing it on Christmas Eve was the best time, helping people out at the holidays,” said Woodley.  “It’s a great time. I love to see other people smile and being happy on Christmas and me just sitting back and enjoying their similes.

“You want everybody to have a great Christmas. It’s tough times right now. Helping someone out on Christmas Eve, I know what that feeling can be like.”

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Steelers 28, Dolphins 34

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 8, 2013 – 4:20 pm

The fourth quarter opened with the action continuing. Ben Roethlisberger hit Jerricho Cotchery for a 16-yard touchdown to put the Steelers back on top, 28-24. The drive was 11 plays, 78 yards, and took 4:56 off the clock.

The Steelers defense came up with a big stop on the Dolphins next possession, with Jason Worilds ending it with a sack.

The offense wasn’t able to capitalize, but the defense again came on strong. LaMarr Woodley brought pressure on Ryan Tannehill forcing him to throw the ball away. Daniel Thomas was held to a three-yard loss, tackled by Lawrence Timmons and Woodley. On third down Will Gay stopped Brian Hartline short of the first down, forcing the Dolphins to punt.

Roethlisberger came out firing, hitting Cotchery for 19 yards to the Dolphins 44-yard line. Two penalties backed the Steelers up to the Steelers 47-yard line, before Antonio Brown got five yards back on a screen pass. The Steelers had to punt, though, after Roethlisberger’s third down pass was broken up.

It would be another big play that would have an impact, but this time it was Daniel Thomas who had a 55 yard run before being tracked down by Will Gay. Charles Clay broke free from tacklers for a 12-yard touchdown reception to put the Dolphins up 31-28.

The Steelers got the ball back at their own 10-yard line, but after three incomplete passes and just 2:33 to play, went for it on fourth down. Roethlisberger scrambled, but came up short with just an eight yard gain.

The Dolphins took over on the Steelers nine-yard line following a personal foul penalty. Caleb Sturgis added a field goal, to put the Dolphins up 34-28.

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Woodley, Hood to host toy drive

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 4, 2013 – 9:51 am

LaMarr Woodley and Ziggy Hood will host a toy drive on Monday, Dec. 9 from 5-7 p.m. at The Mall at Robinson. The players will sign autographs in exchange for the donation of a new, unwrapped toy (valued at $10 or more) to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UMPC’s Child Life Department. The toy drive will be located on the upper level of The Mall at Robinson, near Macy’s, and all toys and any additional donations from the two-hour event will benefit Children’s, a nationally recognized pediatric hospital. One autograph item per person and one autograph per player please. No photographs with the players.


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Pittsburgh athletes team up at Players 4 Kids Gala

Posted by Teresa Varley on October 22, 2013 – 9:19 pm


Photo Gallery: Check out more fun photos at Players 4 Kids Gala   

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley and fullback Will Johnson were part of the Players 4 Kids Gala on Tuesday night at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown.

They teamed up with Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle, second baseman Neil Walker and centerfielder Andrew McCutchen, Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma, and Atlanta Braves pitcher Paul Maholm to benefit the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation.


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Steelers make a wish come true

Posted by Teresa Varley on October 18, 2013 – 3:08 pm

It’s a special weekend for 18-year old Daniel Fraley from Hermitage, Pa., who attended Steelers practice on Friday through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Fraley’s wish was to meet players and go to a game, which he will do on Sunday when the Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field.

Fraley got to meet many of the players, including his favorite, linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who spent time talking with him near the end of practice and afterwards.

“He told me what they were doing out there,” said Fraley, who has muscular dystrophy. “It was cool having him come over and talk to me then. He is a good player. He is a good guy.”

Woodley said he was touched that meeting him was part of Fraley’s wish and he had a good time hanging out with him at practice.

“I came over during our last period when I wasn’t in there, spent some time with him while he was watching practice,” said Woodley. “I was telling him what was going on, who was out there on the field. He already knew, though. He knows his stuff.

“It’s a good feeling to do this. You are making an impact on people’s lives.”

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Time to talk

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 1, 2013 – 12:13 pm

Interviews are part of the daily routine, either at lunch time or after practice.

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Woodley makes visit to summer camp

Posted by Teresa Varley on July 10, 2013 – 2:07 pm

Steelers’ linebacker LaMarr Woodley visited the Pittsburgh Public Schools Summer Dreamers Academy, a summer learning program for students K-8, to share the importance of education.

“Don’t allow anyone to tell you what you can’t do, because you can do anything you want to do,” Woodley told the students. “I had to start paying attention in school.  I had to start listening to my parents, start listening to my teachers at school. I had football and basketball taken away from me because I was a class clown and didn’t pay attention to my parents and teachers. I did spend a lot of time in detention and I knew that without those things, everything would be taken away from me.”

Woodley encouraged the kids not to be a class clown, but instead stay focused and understand the importance of their education. He thinks the program done by the Public Schools this summer is the perfect way to keep the students focused on that.

“It shows the kind of program you are running here when you have those kinds of energy levels from the teachers early in the morning and the commitment from the parents getting their kids here,” said Woodley. “Having the opportunity to go to this summer school program is great.”

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Steelers playing for pride

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 27, 2012 – 7:00 pm


Linebacker LaMarr Woodley is accustomed to football season extending beyond the 16-game regular season schedule. Only once during his six-year career had the Steelers missed the playoffs, that being in 2009, and if you asked him a few months ago he would never have thought this year would be the second time it happened.

“We are not used to it, but we put ourselves in the situation so we have to deal with it,” said Woodley. “It’s frustrating knowing you had every opportunity to put yourself in a good position to be in the playoffs and you weren’t able to.”

Woodley said he can look back at different games, different plays, throughout the season and see what happened, see why the team is where they are today, particularly some of the games early in the season.

“We were giving up too many big plays early in the year, plays that went 30 or 40 yards for a touchdown,” said Woodley. “Those plays hurt us. We gave up too many of those and were counting on the offense too much to bail us out when usually we take care of business.”

The Steelers have one last chance to take care of business on Sunday when they host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. It will be an opportunity for them to show that no matter the scenario, they aren’t about to give up.

“We know what we are capable of. We know the talent we have here,” said running back Jonathan Dwyer. “To be where we are is upsetting. Letting games slip away from us on stupid mistakes makes you want to do better.

“It’s motivation for this week. You want to prove yourself each and every day you step on the field. This week we want to prove ourselves and finish on a good note.”

All week players have been hearing the talk that the game doesn’t mean much because there are no playoff implications. But for men who know what it means to wear the black and gold, there is plenty on the line. Most notably pride.

“I think it’s definitely pride and wanting to end the season on a positive note,” said Dwyer. “The season didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but I think the best thing is to end in a good way to give us momentum heading in to the next year. You want to take it personal, make sure you do what you have to do and get the win for our team and our fans.

“You don’t want to go out on a down note. The fans here deserve a win. Winning is a good way to go out. You want to end the season on a good note.”

The Steelers will face a long offseason, one that will bring changes to the makeup of the team like every offseason does. And this week could be one final time to play together, and you can bet they are going to put it all on the line.

“The guys you have been lining up with, worked all year with, you get to go out there with them again,” said receiver Jerricho Cotchery. “The reality is you might not line up to that guy again. You appreciate those moments and go out there and give it your all for them, the fans and this organization.”

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Inside the locker room: LaMarr Woodley

Posted by Teresa Varley on October 18, 2012 – 5:10 pm

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley answers questions from the media:

Is the key to getting back to “Steelers Football” having you and James Harrison on the field together?
You always want to have all the guys healthy but when a guy is down you expect other people to step up. It shouldn’t matter who is in there in order for us to play Steelers’ football.

Re: Slow start to the season as a team:
We’ve still got 11 games to go out there and play. We’ve got 11 more chances to go out there and play football. We started off pretty bad on the road, and we have an opportunity this week to turn that around.

Is this the same hamstring injury that bothered you last season?
No. It wasn’t even the same leg. It wasn’t the same move, it wasn’t the same hamstring and it wasn’t as serious as it was last year that put me out for two months. This one put me out for a week. It was low grade, and I’ve been going full speed since we got back.

Re: Being more careful coming back from this injury after a hamstring injury caused you to miss so much time last year:
No, because it was a different grade than the one last year. The injury was different. This one I hurt against the Eagles was different than the one I hurt last year, and now I’m able to come back and play right away.

Can you specify how this one was different?
It wasn’t the same injury.

Have you felt inhibited at practice this week?
No, not at all. Last year when I did it, I pretty much had to limp off the field. This year when I did it I walked off the field. When I got the MRI, it showed two completely different injuries.

Re: Becoming the leader of the defense:
I’m working on that. We have to get back to playing football. Everybody has to go out there and do their responsibilities. Most of us on this defense have been trying to do other people’s jobs. I know I have on my side. I just have to focus on what I’m doing and trust my teammates that they’ll do what they are supposed to do.

Re: Importance of this game:
It’s the first division game, another road game and we haven’t been very successful on the road. Like I said, it’s the first time playing in the division and it’s an AFC game. It would be a good time to go out there and start making some big plays this game.

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Harrison knows defense needs to play better

Posted by Teresa Varley on October 15, 2012 – 7:21 pm

The Steelers have yet to have linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley on the field for a complete game this season, and the hope is it happens this week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Harrison missed the first three games of the season but returned to play against the Philadelphia Eagles. Woodley injured his hamstring early in the Eagles game, and with a short week sat out the Titans game.  

“Hopefully,” said Harrison when asked if he thinks the two will be out there. “We’ll see when Sunday gets here.”

Regardless of who is out there, Harrison knows they have to pick up their play.

“What we need is to play better defense the whole game, better situational defense,” said Harrison. “Guys need to take responsibility for their actions and do what the defense is called to do and that is it.

“Overall it’s breakdowns in the defense. Not executing, guys playing different calls than what are being called. Not getting all around snap in and snap out execution of the defense. Some of it is communication, some of it is knowledge, and some of it is the overall technique.”

Despite not performing up to the level they are capable of, Harrison has confidence this team can still get the job done.

“I feel like it can be done, but we still have to go out there and put it on paper,” he said.

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A time to heal for several Steelers

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 26, 2012 – 9:16 pm

Steelers’ players have the next four days off for their bye week, giving several who are ailing a chance to get healthy. Among those the team hopes to get back on the field after the bye are linebacker James Harrison, safety Troy Polamalu and running back Rashard Mendenhall.

“It would help,” said linebacker LaMarr Woodley, speaking about Harrison and Polamalu. “Those are our key guys. That makes a big difference for the defense.  Having them back will be great for our defense.  The bye week is always great. Having a few injuries, Troy and James, gives guys time to heal up and rest and come back and play.”

Harrison was on the field for the first time on Tuesday, but didn’t participate on Wednesday. Polamalu worked on both days.

While both players are expected to make an impact upon their return whenever that might be, their teammates also know they can’t depend solely on them to turn things around defensively.

“We have to get them back out there,” said safety Ryan Clark. “But I don’t think it’s fair to put that much pressure on those guys to say you are why we are not playing well. You can’t say the standard is the standard and say we aren’t playing well because they aren’t there. You can’t do that. The guys who are on the field need to perform.”

Mendenhall has been practicing regularly, even getting more physical contact for the first time last week. With the running game not getting in gear yet, having him back soon would be a welcome addition.

“Rashard is one of the best in the league,” said wide receiver Mike Wallace. “When you get a guy back like that who is very explosive, has really good feet, a lot of vision, it’s going to boost our team.”

The Steelers take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 7 at Heinz Field and getting any or all three of the injured players back for that game is something teammates are hoping for.

“You get a player like Rashard back, James and Troy and that will provide us a spark,” said wide receiver Antonio Brown. “They are key factors on our team and provide us an opportunity to win games. It will be great to have them back and this gives them time to recover.”

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Woodley launches his foundation

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 24, 2012 – 4:30 pm

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley has been giving back to the community in Pittsburgh and his hometown of Saginaw, Michigan since his rookie season, but he took it to a new level with the launch of the LaMarr Woodley Foundation on Monday.

The foundation has been established to provide underprivileged and underserved youth and adults, through a wide variety of services.

Woodley is committed to educational endeavors for youth, with after school, reading, D.A.R.E, scholarship and college prep programs. In addition Woodley is providing services for adults that include life skills, money management, parenting, office skills and technology training.   

“I’ve been doing work in the community since I was at the University of Michigan,” said Woodley. “Last year, I realized that I wanted to be able to create my own foundation, in order to establish long-term programs that would have an even greater impact on changing people’s lives for the better.”

Woodley recently kicked off his Sack Attack, donating $500 for each sack this season to All Stars Helping Kids; the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania and Prevent Another Crime Today (PACT). During training camp he donated $60,000 to Saginaw Public Schools, allowing all students to participate in sports without having to pay a fee.

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Woodley gets Sack Attack Literacy Initiative rolling

Posted by Teresa Varley on September 14, 2012 – 8:39 pm

At first glance it looked like the evening at the Boys & Girls Club in Lawrenceville was all about fun and games. Steelers’ linebacker LaMarr Woodley was leading the way playing games, and even dancing, with the young kids who were attending the opening event for the LaMarr Woodley Foundation Sack Attack.

But a closer look and you understood that while having fun was a key, the reason behind it all was to stress the importance of education, with a strong emphasis on Woodley’s new Literacy Initiative.

“Education is definitely important,” said Woodley. “It plays along with being a student-athlete like I was. Without education there were no sports. It’s a part of life. This is to stress the importance of reading and writing and letting them know how important education is.”

Woodley invited 200 kids to participate in the Literacy Initiative, providing each of them with two new books and an activity sheet to get them started. He also implemented an essay contest for the kids on the subject, “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up and Why?” The top two winners from each of the three age groups will attend a game as Woodley’s guest.

“At this age I would say I wanted to be a professional wrestler,” said Woodley of what his essay would have been about. “I watched a lot of WWF. I saw it on TV, my friends and I we always wrestled when we were at home. That is what I would have done.”

The Literacy Initiative is the latest in Woodley’s efforts to give back to the community, whether it’s in Pittsburgh or his home in Saginaw, Michigan.

“LaMarr grew up in a Boys & Girls Club,” said Mike Hepler, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania. “He was sitting where they were once. He had his dream. He accomplished that dream not just on the field, but also in school. He embraces that concept.

“He is letting the kids know not only is it important that you stay in school, but what you do in school. Literacy is at the top of the list. The thrust of this program is the special services for young people with encouragement and incentive for them to read.”

Woodley was a regular at the Boys &Girls Club in Saginaw, going there after school daily to play with friends and take advantage of the education programs. That is why when he began his Sack Attack, which people pledge money for each of his sacks, he wanted part of the proceeds to go to the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania.

“I have to start racking them up,” said Woodley of the sacks. “Last year I ended the season with nine sacks because I was hurt. I hurt the team and the Sack Attack because of that. This year I have a fresh start.

“I didn’t get any sacks against the Broncos but I have the opportunity to turn that around and help my team and the sack attack as well.”

There is nothing Woodley would like more than to have a record-setting sack year, benefitting the Steelers, and the kids he loves to be around.

“Everything LaMarr does is from the heart,” said Hepler. “He is very concerned about the welfare of the children.”

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Post-Game Comments: LaMarr Woodley

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 26, 2012 – 7:49 pm


On the defensive performance overall :

Got a few turnovers, could’ve had some more, left a few out there on the field, but I think overall, pretty good.


Lawrence Timmons caused a forced fumble, I had a chance to get an interception. A few of the young guys got some interceptions, that’s always good, because it can put the offense in better field position.


On Chris Carter

I think Chris is ready, I didn’t really get a chance to watch him today, we were both in at the same time,  he did get to the quarterback, knocked the quarterback down a few times.


On what made everything start to click:

Continue to get turnovers, third down situations, not giving up the deep passes, put them in some third down situations.  I missed two interceptions. We have to capitalize on that when opportunity is there.


On Decastro injury:

Hopefully he is alright. A first round pick, expect a lot out of him.  If he can’t go, somebody has to be ready to step up and roll.


On preseason game number three:

It means a lot, on offense and defense, they have a pretty good defense, pretty good offense, opportunities for us to go out there and challenge ourselves.

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Woodley helps kids keep on playing

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 16, 2012 – 8:58 pm

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley made a $60,000 donation to Saginaw (Michigan) Public Schools to help cover the budget cut that was being made to the athletic department, which would have resulted in students having to pay $75 each to participate in sports.

Woodley knows it would have been tough for him if he had to pay to play sports in school and doesn’t want other kids to be in that situation.

“It was just something that needed to be done,” said Woodley. “I know how it is being in this situation. If I had to pay to play sports, I knew what the outcome of that would be. It was just something that needs to be done.

“It’s hard times for people back at home, and people everywhere. If it allows a kid an opportunity to earn a scholarship, or just learn about playing team ball or having a mentor in some of the coaches, because that’s what they are, and a family can’t afford 75 dollars, it would be tough. I wasn’t going to sit back and allow that to happen. I was able to do something about it and I did it.”

Woodley’s donation covered the entire budget cut, which includes his former school Saginaw High.

“It will help about 800 kids who won’t have to pay this year to play sports in high school or middle school,” said Woodley. “Now they don’t have to worry about that. I’m sure there were some kids worried about the money and hopefully I helped out a little bit.”

The donation was made through the newly found LaMarr Woodley Foundation, something he plans to use to continue to help in Saginaw and Pittsburgh.

“Sports got to me where I’m at right now and this money could help somebody attain a scholarship for next year,” said Woodley. “It’s just helping people out. People helped me along the way and now I’m doing my job and giving back to my hometown.”

Coach Mike Tomlin was impressed with Woodley stepping up and making the donation and continuing his commitment to the community.

“I think that’s a responsibility that they all embrace,” said Coach Mike Tomlin of the donation. “He’s the kind of guy that is not looking for acknowledgement in that area but he understands the responsibility of being LaMarr Woodley.

“I complimented him on it to be quite honest with you. That’s a man that took $60,000 and provided potentially a lifetime of opportunity. If there’s one kid that didn’t get an opportunity to play sports and does, imagine if he goes on and gets an athletic scholarship and how much that $60,000 has helped someone. It’s part of being us, and I’m glad that men like him embrace it.”

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Woodley likes flying under radar

Posted by Teresa Varley on August 9, 2012 – 4:00 am

Even though the Steelers are coming off a 12-4 season, linebacker LaMarr Woodley isn’t surprised that the team is flying under the radar as far as who people are predicting to finish on top in the AFC North.

“Every year it’s that way,” said Woodley. “When I was in high school and college the Steelers were always under the radar. It’s good sometimes. People are not hyping us up and that is when teams can sneak in and win it all.”

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