By Teresa Varley
LaMarr Woodley was one of the last players out of the locker room following the Steelers first few days of voluntary offseason workouts. And he didn't seem to mind it one bit.
Woodley is taking part in the workouts that are mainly attended by younger players who didn't see much playing time last year and he is doing it just because he wants to.
"I am here by my own choice," said Woodley. "I will be here for a while, go back to Ann Arbor for a while and work out, then come back. When you volunteer to be here, it means you really want to be here. It means you want to do it."
It's been a nice change of pace for Woodley, who has been traveling almost every week since the Super Bowl, and has appeared on BET's 106 & Park and Rip the Runway Fashion show, where he hit the catwalk.
He also will throw out the first pitch at the home opener for the Altoona Curve on Thursday, April 16 when they host the Erie SeaWolves at Blair County Ballpark. The Curve is the Pittsburgh Pirates Class AA Affiliate.
"It's going to be fun," said Woodley. "A lot of people are asking me if I can get it to the plate. I definitely don't want to embarrass myself. I have to get it to the plate. I am looking forward to watching the game too.
"Since the Super Bowl I have been flying every week, going to different cities and I kind of miss working out. I just started up working out last week. This is my second week. There are a few aches and pains. I want to try and get my weight down. I want to play at a different weight this year, coming in this season."
Another thing Woodley wants to do this season is improve on his performance from 2008. As a first-year starter at outside linebacker he was impressive with 11.5 sacks in the regular season, while adding six in the post-season, two in each game including Super Bowl XLIII. Improving on that will be a challenge, one that he is up for.
"What I did last year showed everybody what I've got," said Woodley. "I went out there and had 11 sacks. I helped the team win the Super Bowl. A lot of people are going to be wondering if I can come back and do the same thing, will I be the same type of player or will I go up or go down. I am the type of player that I always like to go up. I want to do better than what I did this year."
He will take that not just as an individual challenge, but as a team challenge as well. Woodley is only entering his third season with the Steelers so he wasn't a part of the 2005 team that won Super Bowl XL but failed to make the playoffs in 2006. The last thing he wants is to see that kind of history repeat itself.
"Winning the Super Bowl everybody is going to want to see how we react this year," said Woodley. "You have to focus on next season. Everybody wants to see what type of team you are going to be coming back this year.
"We want to go into this season with the right attitude and show everybody across the league we are going to come back and compete for another championship. Coming back it really brings you back to life."