Several media outlets are reporting that Pittsburgh Steelers veteran linebacker James Farrior will be released by the team; and confirmed by his agent Ralph Cindrich: @RalphCindrich: #JamesFarrior has been a rock for the #Steelers but the #Turk takes no prisoners-he’s gone. A not so Good Morning from Cali. #NFL
As you recall, Mr. Cindrich tweeted up recently that he felt this was coming for his client: @RalphCindrich: Percentages are not w/ #Steelers keeping @JamesFarrior. He wanted to retire a PS but he is healthy & ready-wants to play.
Farrior was first round pick of the New York Jets in 1997 out of the University of Virginia. He played sparingly at times for the Jets and was released by the team in 2001 and allowed to enter free agency.
It was at this point where his career really took off playing inside linebacker in the Steelers’ famed 3-4 defense. While with the Steelers, Farrior was voted to the Pro Bowl twice and played in three Super Bowls winning two. In 2003, he recorded 141 tackles and an interception. In 2010 Farrior had 80 tackles, 6 sacks, 5 passes defensed and 1 forced fumble. His production dropped off in 2011 though as he split time with veteran partner Larry Foote. James finished up 2011 with 57 tackles, and 3 passes defensed. He was signed through the end of the 2012 season, with a cap hit of just over $3.8 million. This move again, just like with Aaron Smith, wasn’t as much about the money as it was just Farrior just getting up there in years and the team needing to get younger and faster in the middle. Had he been playing at the high level he was even in 2010, the team could have carried that salary if they wanted too.
You hate to see a guy like Farrior leave, the unquestioned leader on the field and the locker room will most certainly be missed. He’s been a fan favorite since he came to the Steelers and someone you could always count on to be on the field week in and week out. He never played less than 14 games in a season since coming to Pittsburgh so that tells you he’s been healthy and consistent.
Although Farrior had several nicknames, “Potsie” was clearly his most common moniker which was given to him by his parents due to his ‘pot belly’ as a kid.
The release of Farrior will clear up approximately three million dollars of cap space for the Steelers but raises questions about leadership and depth at the inside linebacking position. The move more than likely means that veteran linebacker Larry Foote will be retained by the Steelers as well. The Steelers over the last few days have made it very clear that linebackers and offensive and defensive linemen will be targeted in the upcoming NFL Draft. It’s also clear that they realize the outstanding run with great players like Farrior, Ward, and Smith has come to an end and it’s time for a new chapter to be started.
You can see his career stats below: