Age is just a number


By Teresa Varley  Linebacker James Farrior, who will be entering his 14th season in the NFL in 2010, said that the overall age of the Steelers defense is not something that concerns him.

"We've been getting old for a few years now," said Farrior. "I think it's all relative and it is what it is. If you've got it, you've got it. If you don't, you don't. I don't really think about the age issue.
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"You lose a step every year. I feel like every year is going to be different. You can't get faster every year, eventually you're going to slow down. I definitely think that my age is getting up there and I might've lost a step, but I think my mental part of the game helps me keep up pace. I think that's what it is for a lot of older guys, if you've got the mental capacity, and you're able to be smarter than the other guy, it keeps you on the same pace."

When you fail to make the playoffs everyone clamors for change. And while many players agree there will be change this offseason, they aren't looking for anything drastic.

"There's always going to be changes on your team," said linebacker LaMarr Woodley. "We won the Super Bowl and there were changes. There are going to be changes always. People are going to be here. People are going to leave, no matter what the situation."

After Super Bowl XLIII the Steelers lost players to free agency, added some new faces and of course brought in a new draft class. Overall, though, it's relatively the same group that went all the way and the feeling is that talent is still there.

"I think we have a really good core group," said center Justin Hartwig. "I think that with the group that we have, obviously we are capable of winning a Super Bowl. I'd be surprised if there was a lot of turnover. We've proven that we can get it done with the group of guys we have. Obviously though, that is part of the business. Every year there is going to be changes with coaches possibly, with players possibly, we are going to bring in a whole new draft class next year. Change is inevitable."

Whatever changes do occur, the hope is they are positive ones that get the Steelers back into the playoffs next season.

"I hope things change for the better," said wide receiver Santonio Holmes. "I'm not a guy that works in the front office. I don't know who needs to be here and who doesn't. All I can do is know I've got to go this offseason and get better, come back healthy, ready to play another 16 games."

While players acknowledge some changes might take place, one thing those on defense are happy about is coordinator Dick LeBeau plans on returning for 2010.
"I'm looking forward to Coach LeBeau coming back next year and next year will be no different than any other year coming into the season," said Farrior. "He told us in a meeting a couple of weeks ago, I think the rumors had started going around again about him retiring and not coming back again, he laid it to bed with me. He told our defense they're going to have to kick him up out of here so I took his word for it."

LeBeau met with the defense after the team meeting and while he might not have spoken for long, his words always go a long way with the players.

"He said he is looking forward to getting ready for next year," said Woodley. "He talked to us for a minute briefly, just about a few things, the season. He said get ready for next year to come out and play good."

For the second time this Steelers team failed to make the playoffs after winning the Super Bowl, missing out on the playoffs in 2006 after winning Super Bowl XL and again this year after winning Super Bowl XLIII.

Farrior looks at it as something completely different this year.

"I think this year was probably different than any other year I've been around," said Farrior. "I think it was pretty much a tale of a couple different seasons put together in one. We started off slow, off to a 1-2 start, we got hot, won five straight, then we got extremely cold, lost five straight and then we tried to rally back at the end, but it was just a little too late. I've never been a part of a season like this, it was definitely tough. I don't think it really compares to the first time, I think it was a whole different situation."

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