Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley created headlines in June 2011, when he said Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco wouldn't go to the Super Bowl "in his lifetime." As you know, Flacco didn't just go to the Super Bowl last season. He won it and was the game's Most Valuable Player.
When I asked Woodley about those comments a few days ago, he said he doesn't regret saying it even though he still hears about it from fans on Facebook and Twitter.
"I don't take it back at all," Woodley told the AFC North blog. "As a player on any team, you're never going to say your rival is going to win the Super Bowl. That's knocking you out of the tournament that year. Somebody on their team pretty sure would say that as well. That's the nature of what it is. A lot of people don't understand. They're going to take it the way they want to take it."
To his credit, leading up to the Super Bowl between the Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, Woodley told a radio station in Florida that he was rooting for the Ravens because he wanted to see Ray Lewis get a ring in his final game.
"The year we beat Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game, I saw Ray Lewis out in Tampa (before the Super Bowl). He was telling me to go out there and win the game," Woodley said. "That speaks a lot coming from a rival. But, early in the season, you just can't never say your rival is going to win the Super Bowl."
Woodley was also the target of a quote from a anonymous teammate, who said Woodley's lack of production stemmed from him not working out in the offseason. According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, safety Ryan Clark convinced Woodley to work with his trainer in Arizona this year.
"Whatever he's doing appears to be right," linebackers coach Keith Butler said. "We'll see when we get to training camp. The biggest thing for him is we have to keep him on the field. We've talked to him about that, and he understands that. Lamar is a prideful man, and he understands that he has to play at a certain level to fulfill his contract, you might say. He's working at it."