By Teresa Varley
Linebacker James Farrior stood in front of his locker after practice on Thursday with the media surrounding him and his teammates good-naturedly ribbing him about the new contract he just signed and now 'being in the money.'
For Farrior, the attention was welcome because it meant he got just what he wanted, the chance to finish his career in the black and gold
"That is the game plan, to try to finish out my career here," said Farrior. "The Steelers have been good to me. I put all of my heart and soul into this and I am going to try and close it out."
Farrior signed a five-year contract that keeps him with the Steelers through the 2012 season. His current contract was set to expire after the 2008 season and Farrior didn't want to go anywhere.
"I was always hopeful," said Farrior. "I didn't know how it was going to go. You never know how it is going to go. I wasn't too sure at first but they expressed to me they wanted to get something done. We had some communication with my agent and we got a deal worked out. I was confident in the Steelers and my agent that we could get a deal done."
The deal has been in the works the last few days, but things came together on Wednesday evening and everything was finalized on Thursday, something that also pleases head coach Mike Tomlin.
"James has played at an extremely high level the entire time I have been here," said Tomlin. "It's a pleasure to get that deal done. We are glad that it's done. It's great to know he is going to be a part of us here in the future. Not only is he an outstanding player, he is an outstanding professional. He is an outstanding leader for us and has been a captain of our defense for awhile."
While Farrior hasn't let the contract be a distraction to him at all, he is relieved that it is taken care of before the season begins.
"It makes it a lot easier not worrying about your longevity here and where you might be next year," said Farrior. "It gives you a level of comfort and ease that you know where you are going to be and this is your home.
"I didn't worry about it too much. I thought about it, it was in the back of my mind. Its football time now and that is what we have to focus on."