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View Full Version : Rookie Diary: LaMarr Woodley



AZ_Steeler
05-17-2007, 06:39 PM
Link to Story (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=ArvmaF6HBJaC7AaRW4Vohyk5nYcB?slug=ys-woodleydiary051707&prov=yhoo&type=lgns)



By LaMarr Woodley, Special to Yahoo! Sports

Editor's note: LaMarr Woodley, a Michigan defensive end selected in the NFL draft by the Steelers to play linebacker, will share his introduction to the league with Yahoo! Sports through periodic diary entries leading up to the 2007 regular season.

It's been a long few weeks. I've gone through the NFL draft, the first minicamp of my career, and I'm just trying to get myself healthy and get ready for training camp. I'm anxious to get started. This has been the longest process of my life. You would think something like this is going to be easy, but it really isn't.

It all started on draft day when my cell phone was cutting off all day. I tried to get it fixed in the morning, but it kept shutting off. So I was really nervous, looking at my phone during the whole draft, wondering if it was still on and waiting for a team to call. When the 46th pick came up, I really didn't think the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to take me, but then my phone rang and I recognized the Pittsburgh area code.

Someone on the phone asked, "LaMarr Woodley, how would you feel about coming to Pittsburgh?" I don't even know who it was. Even now, I still have no idea. A name was given, but I didn't hear it. Pretty soon, I was talking on the phone with coach after coach after coach. I don't even know all the people I was talking to. I had my family all cheering and some people were running after me, but I was waving them away because I was talking to the coaches. It was kind of crazy.

After a while, I went out and got a chance to talk to my family. We all hugged and laughed. Then my brother, Tony Tatum, from Atlanta played a highlight video he had made for me that said I was his hero. My brother is a backup singer on tour with R&B artist Keith Sweat, and he was singing on the video. It was a very touching moment.

That night, I went to bed and slept well. I was tired, and the long wait was over.

In the days after the draft, I went to the YMCA in Saginaw, Mich., every day and worked out. I want to drop about 12 pounds and get down to 260. The Steelers sent the defensive playbook out to me, too. I really didn't understand it at first, coming from a defensive end standpoint. I'm moving to linebacker and was looking at it from that viewpoint, so I wasn't getting it at first. But I will be working hard on that all summer.

I also went to my high school a few days after the draft Saginaw High School and spoke to some students about the experience. There were a lot of football players there. I just talked to them about how to handle yourself on and off the field and how to keep your reputation clean.

You can never change where you're from. When you come from a place like Saginaw, you play with heart. And you can never teach heart. I was telling them that and trying to encourage them. So much is going on in the city where young kids don't believe in themselves anymore. So I want to go back there and be a positive role model.

Last week, I drove to Pittsburgh in what turned out to an interesting trip. It was a long drive, like 4frac12; to five hours, but the more confounding aspect of the trip was the toll booths, which I did not anticipate. I got to the first one, and I didn't really have any money on me. I asked if they took a debit card and they said they could only take cash or check. The toll was $7.50, but I only had like four dollars in my pocket. The next thing you know, I'm trying to scrape together another $3.50 in change. Thankfully, I had a thing filled with some coins. Then I came to another toll booth, and the lady told me it was another $3. I couldn't believe it. I asked again if they would take debit. I thought maybe she would feel sorry for me and let me go through. She was like, "Nope, cash or a check." So I went back to the coins and counted out $3. This went on for three more toll booths.

After that, I headed for my financial advisor Marty Blaze's house when I got to Pittsburgh. I knew his street and address, so I entered it into the navigation system in my car. The problem was he actually lives in another little city near Pittsburgh. So I ended up on the right street but in the wrong city, outside of some stranger's house. So I call Marty and I was like "Man, I'm outside your house." And Marty was like, "I don't see you." He's telling me to pull around the corner and park. When we figured it out, I realized I was like 20 miles away from where I needed to be.

As for minicamp, I was one of the first ones here, along with some of the offensive linemen. I was excited to get going. When I got out there, I was trying to remember everything in my head. I realized how tough it was going to be to move to linebacker. I remembered some of the plays, but I was pretty much just out there running around and doing what I could. I was rusty in the linebacker drills. I even fell down at one point.

It's like a whole new world on the field. I'm reading offenses, learning new words and trying to remember all the plays. I'm memorizing it pretty well, but I think that's why I've been out there playing slow. I'm thinking all the time and I think that's why the speed of the game feels faster than it really is. If you come in with the knowledge, it will slow down. But the first practice was definitely eye-opening.

Then I hurt my hamstring on the first day of minicamp. I'm sitting there on the sidelines thinking, "Man, these dudes probably think I'm soft and the coaches are probably disappointed." I didn't know if people thought I might have been faking it. All this stuff was running through my head, and I just wanted to push myself to go back out there again even though I was hurt. I knew if I did that I could hurt it a lot worse, and I didn't want to be sitting for weeks trying to heal. So I sat out and iced it up even though I really didn't want to. Basically, I just spent the first three days of camp asking questions and going through mental reps in my head.

I can see that I'm going to really like my coaches and being here. Coach Mike Tomlin is really laid back. You can really talk to him. Some other coaches, it can take time to get comfortable with them. But I think he's going to be really cool. I'm just trying to get to know all of them and let them know me.

Now I've got my goals ahead of me. I want to get this hamstring healed. Then I want to lose that weight and get the plays down. I'll have to go look for a place to live in Pittsburgh. Right now I'm in a temporary apartment that was set up by the team. I'm not going to go crazy. I'll just look at a few places and see what it's like. It's not like I'm a first-round pick and I have all of this money to spend. I'm smart with my money. I'm going to find a place that's affordable for me.

What I know for sure is I'm staying in Pittsburgh right up through training camp. That's the only way I'm going to get better. There is no time for a rookie to take a vacation. I have the rest of my career to think about things like that. Right now, it's time to focus and work my way to the top of the position. I know I have the heart. Now I just have to work to catch up with everything else.

BlitzburghRockCity
05-17-2007, 06:48 PM
Last week, I drove to Pittsburgh in what turned out to an interesting trip. It was a long drive, like 4frac12; to five hours, but the more confounding aspect of the trip was the toll booths, which I did not anticipate. I got to the first one, and I didn't really have any money on me. I asked if they took a debit card and they said they could only take cash or check. The toll was $7.50, but I only had like four dollars in my pocket. The next thing you know, I'm trying to scrape together another $3.50 in change. Thankfully, I had a thing filled with some coins. Then I came to another toll booth, and the lady told me it was another $3. I couldn't believe it. I asked again if they would take debit. I thought maybe she would feel sorry for me and let me go through. She was like, "Nope, cash or a check." So I went back to the coins and counted out $3. This went on for three more toll booths.

Who carries that much change in their car ? :lol: I hate those damn tolls, you'd think they would take a debit card ! Guess he learned his lesson the hard way to always carry some cash on the turnpike.



What I know for sure is I'm staying in Pittsburgh right up through training camp. That's the only way I'm going to get better. There is no time for a rookie to take a vacation. I have the rest of my career to think about things like that. Right now, it's time to focus and work my way to the top of the position. I know I have the heart. Now I just have to work to catch up with everything else.

Now that's the focus you want from a rookie, hell from any player...he's got the mindset now he just needs to put it all together and get healthy.

Stlrs4Life
05-17-2007, 06:51 PM
Sounds pretty level headed to me.

K Train
05-17-2007, 06:53 PM
i love that we picked this guy up...he seems great

BBG7
05-17-2007, 07:29 PM
I am definately looking forward to seeing him in action during training camp. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders!

House of Steel
05-17-2007, 07:51 PM
That is comedy, but this kid is very focused and very determined to play at top level his rookie season. You can't ask much more from Woodley. What a kid!!!

BB2W
05-17-2007, 07:56 PM
He is saying all the right things... I just hope he can make the switch to linebacker. :redcool:

TEEMONT
05-17-2007, 07:59 PM
Hail to the Victors....lol....

strong D
05-17-2007, 08:00 PM
pro bowler in 3 years :2cents: :tt02:

stillers4me
05-17-2007, 08:32 PM
He sounds like a very good, bright and humble young man. He has the heart and desire of a champion.......and that's Steeler material!! :tt02:

K Train
05-17-2007, 08:38 PM
i like his speed, and hes like 260....they guy has the potential to be amazing...he seems like hes a tough guy and is willing to go the extra mile

okiesteeler
05-17-2007, 08:41 PM
He is a good writer. Shows that he is smart and that will help him make the shift and get the plays down. I ldike this kid more after reading that.

Steelrane
05-17-2007, 08:50 PM
You know anyone from U of M is going to be good! :bigthumb: I too love how humble he sounds. I know he will be ready to kick some *** on Sundays! :bb:

DIESELMAN
05-17-2007, 08:51 PM
I also went to my high school a few days after the draft Saginaw High School and spoke to some students about the experience. There were a lot of football players there. I just talked to them about how to handle yourself on and off the field and how to keep your reputation clean.

You can never change where you're from. When you come from a place like Saginaw, you play with heart. And you can never teach heart. I was telling them that and trying to encourage them. So much is going on in the city where young kids don't believe in themselves anymore. So I want to go back there and be a positive role model.


I'm really liking this guy, once he understands his role on the defense, hes going to be a beast. :bigthumb:

RckyMtnStlrFan
05-17-2007, 10:29 PM
He sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders and the Steeler mentality. Let's hope he has the talent to be an NFL defensive beast. I like him!:clap:

BlitzburghRockCity
05-17-2007, 10:31 PM
He is saying all the right things... I just hope he can make the switch to linebacker. :redcool:

Yeah he did seem a bit surprised at difficult the transition appears to be at the onset of switching to OLB for us but it's got to be overwhelming for all the rookies so I'm sure he'll adjust in time. He's got all summer to learn the playbook and that's a big thing, the coaches can get him up to speed on the techniques and nuances of the OLB position in our defense.

Black@Gold Forever32
05-17-2007, 10:37 PM
Yeah he did seem a bit surprised at difficult the transition appears to be at the onset of switching to OLB for us but it's got to be overwhelming for all the rookies so I'm sure he'll adjust in time. He's got all summer to learn the playbook and that's a big thing, the coaches can get him up to speed on the techniques and nuances of the OLB position in our defense.

I would bet both Jason Gildon and Joey Porter felt that way at first to since they also made the switch at the NFL level.

All we can hope is Woodley can make the switch like both Gildon/Porter did and not end up like Alonzo Jackson.:lol:

BlitzburghRockCity
05-17-2007, 10:40 PM
Don't jinx the poor guy with that Zo Jackson talk man :lol: I agree with ya, it's got to be pretty intimidating at first being on an NFL roster playing with guys who's been doing this for a long time and Im sure those guys from the past felt the same way... but he's in the perfect situation to succeed here in Pittsbugh.

strong D
05-17-2007, 10:46 PM
the thing is that with our 3-4 d olb basically just rushes the passer they just do it standing up with the ocassional coverage

Black@Gold Forever32
05-17-2007, 10:48 PM
Don't jinx the poor guy with that Zo Jackson talk man :lol: I agree with ya, it's got to be pretty intimidating at first being on an NFL roster playing with guys who's been doing this for a long time and Im sure those guys from the past felt the same way... but he's in the perfect situation to succeed here in Pittsbugh.

Sorry about bringing up Zo Jackson....:lol:

25MVPKing
05-17-2007, 11:11 PM
Extremely impressed.

SteelerNation
05-18-2007, 12:05 AM
I am definately looking forward to seeing him in action during training camp. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders!

:tt02: once i see him on the field then ill say rather he was a good pickup or not but it seems to be a good pick at this time


Anyone got info on Timmions i cant find anything about him , how he played what college hes from ect..

Steelerlyn
05-18-2007, 12:43 AM
So he has a navigation system in his car but not enough for the tolls. The reference to him not being a "1st round draft choice" and watching his money is pretty funny. How would Tomlin respond to being described as "laid back"? Yes it was a Mini camp and he (Woodley) has yet to sign.. :)
I am a fan of any team scUM plays, but after they leave scUM and come to da burgh, I love 'em and this Woodley guy is one awesome player!~

SteelerFan87
05-18-2007, 05:12 PM
Don't know if this has been posted yet, but here's something else by Woodley:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=afterananxiousandjoyfuld&prov=tsn&type=lgns

"Getting the call from Steelers to tell me I was going to Pittsburgh was like something out of a dream for me. Even though I grew up in Michigan, I was always a huge Steelers fan. Being able to put on the same uniform as guys like Jerome Bettis, Joe Greene, Franco Harris, Greg Lloyd, Levon Kirkland and Joey Porter is going to be something surreal at first, but as s oon as I get a uniform of my own, it will be motivation to continue a great Steeler tradition."

That's what I like to hear! :tt02: