Nothing personal, Woodley just wants to win

During a typical NFL offseason, one that includes free agency and minicamps and OTAs, what LaMarr Woodley said during an episode of NFL Network's Total Access would have created a stir. During an offseason where football-starved fans had none of that and the media covering the sport were looking for anything to eat up air-time, what Woodley said moved the Richter Scale.

The question posed to Woodley was a variation of: Can Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco lead his team to the Super Bowl?

Woodley didn't hesitate with his answer, and there was no waffling on the issue.

"No, not at all because they have to go through one team -- that's the Pittsburgh Steelers in that AFC championship," Woodley said back in June. "So in order for them to get to the Super Bowl, they have to beat us, and we're not gonna let that happen once we get that close. So that's not gonna happen in this lifetime."

The comments were picked up nationally, and became a hot topic in Baltimore. It wasn't long before a Baltimore station, tracked down Joe Flacco and asked him to respond to Woodley.

"He obviously doesn't know what he's talking about," said Flacco. "At some level, I don't care because what does that really mean? But there is another level where it does kind of (tick) you off a little bit.

"We just need to come up a little bigger than we have while playing those guys a couple of times. I mean, come on. What does he think? That they're going to do it every year?"

Well, that is exactly what Woodley does think. And truthfully, that's what every NFL player should think going into a season and that's why Woodley answered the question in the way that he did.

With the Steelers preparing to open their 2011 NFL regular season with a game in Baltimore against the Ravens at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, the Woodley-Flacco affair will be resurrected and used to prime the pump for a game that will be one of the highlights of the league's Week 1 schedule. With Steelers-Ravens now just days away, Woodley just wanted to explain his thought process in his direct answer to a question posed to him almost three months ago.

"The comments were about our team," said Woodley. "When you say some team in your division is going to win the Super Bowl, you are saying that your team is not that good, that you are not planning on going to the Super Bowl that year. I think every year being here, I plan on going to the Super Bowl. The comments were definitely for us.

"People blew it up that I was going after Flacco, that he can't get the Ravens over the hump. By me making the comments, people were saying, 'LaMarr Woodley said Joe Flacco wouldn't win a Super Bowl in his lifetime.' Anybody, from any team, if you say someone from your division and your rival is going to win the Super Bowl, and you are in that division, you are not a competitor."

The Steelers defeated the Ravens in the 2008 AFC Championship Game en route to winning Super Bowl XLIII, and then last season the teams met in the AFC Divisional Round, with the Steelers able to overcome a 21-7 halftime deficit to win, 31-24.

"It's not just Joe Flacco, it's anybody," said Woodley. "I am planning on playing in the Super Bowl and winning it every year I am here. That is my mind-set always going into every season. Trying to get me to say that someone else is going to win the Super Bowl, that's definitely out of the question."

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