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Older, wiser Timmons enjoying the ride

The best photos of LB Lawrence Timmons from the 2015 season.

The point Mike Tomlin made to his players through the media stressed the importance of not letting their conditioning slip during the window between the close of veteran mandatory minicamp and the opening of training camp.

That message was delivered by Tomlin to linebacker Ryan Shazier in person, during one of Tomlin's typical post-practice tours around the locker room.

"We've been joking around with each other for 10 years," Timmons said. "He's just making sure I stay in the same shape, the way I'm in shape right now.

"I'm willing to do whatever just to be a part of this team and keep doing what I'm doing here."

Timmons has been doing it for the Steelers for nine seasons, ever since Tomlin arrived and made Timmons the first first-round draft choice of the Tomlin era in 2007.

That the 2016 season will be Timmons' 10th has not been lost on the inside linebacker from Florida State.
"It's a beautiful thing," he said. "In my planned journey this is a height for me.

"When you first get into it you're a young knucklehead, you don't really know. You grow older, you get past that and see what you can really do.

"I feel like it's slowed down a whole lot for me. I get more into the game because I know what I'm doing. I can help out younger players more, have more fun with the guys. I know what to expect every morning, every meeting, every practice.

"It's fun right now."

It'll also be a little different for Timmons in his 10th season.

Traditionally an every-down player, the Steelers began removing Timmons from the defensive alignment by design at times last season.

"That doesn't sit well with me but it's the best for our team so I'm all about doing that," he said.

Timmons also passed the responsibility of making the defensive calls to fellow inside linebacker Ryan Shazier as the 2015 season progressed.

"He's the young giant right now," Timmons said. "He's playing real well for us. I just echo his calls and make sure everybody listens up to him."

The defense around Timmons also isn't what it used to be.

As Timmons gets older, the defense is getting younger, especially in the secondary.

But the feeling Timmons gets from being a part of it all hasn't changed.

"I love it," he said. "I love the camaraderie here, the fraternizing with the guys.

"When you go away you kind of miss that. When you come back you see what you were missing."

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