Photo by Tony Gonzales
The Oakland Raiders added free agent LaMarr Woodley to the roster Thursday afternoon. The long-time Steelers linebacker joins the Raiders after seven years in Pittsburgh. Woodley was a second-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft out of the University of Michigan.
The Michigan-native was a standout in college, earning the Ted Hendricks Award for best defensive lineman in the nation, as well as the Lombardi Award as the best lineman, offensive or defensive, in the country.
As a member of the Steelers, Woodley played in 94 games and totaled 299 tackles (213 solo), 57 sacks, 16 passes defensed and five interceptions. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2009, while earning second-team All-Pro that same year.
Woodley brings knowledge and leadership to the Raiders defense and joins DE Justin Tuck, who also signed with the Raiders Thursday . "I feel like we bring leadership and experience to this defense. Me and Justin both have played in two Super Bowls. He has won two, I've won one Super Bowl but we know what it's like to be on a winning team, and we know what it takes to get there. I think that we're both proven guys, had some injuries here and there that slowed us up, but when we're 100 percent out there on the football field, we bring it, and we just try to go out there and help our team win football games."
The veteran linebacker will likely play defensive end with the Silver and Black. "Here, they are going to use me as a defensive end," said Woodley. "I don't feel like it's any different than playing a 3-4 outside linebacker, where you are still kind of the defensive end. The only thing about the 3-4 scheme is that you are asked to drop back and cover receivers and you are standing up rushing. You still have to play the run, you still have to get after the quarterback, and that's no different from a 4-3 end. So, your hand is in the dirt and you're not dropping back in coverage."
Woodley wants to add to his impressive seven-year sack total. "Here, I'll be rushing more, less dropping back in coverage, so I just feel like with more opportunities to get after the quarterback allow me to get more sacks," said Woodley.
Woodley says he brings excitement to the field. "I bring excitement. I'm constantly getting after the quarterback. I take pride at getting after quarterbacks," said Woodley. "I've been doing it my whole life since middle school and that's just what I love to do. I love to go out there and help my team win. So if I'm not out there getting sacks, I'm trying to put myself in position that allows somebody else to make a play. I'm just a team player that loves to win football games."
He is looking forward to putting on the Silver and Black, knowing the history within the franchise. "I know a little bit about the history of the team and once I started talking to the coaching staff and telling me how they were going to use me in the defense, I was excited and I was saying that this place is going to be the place for me," said Woodley.
Woodley's decision to sign with the Silver and Black was also persuaded after seeing all the support from Raider Nation on social media. "From the moment that I came here off my flight, just the fans here were unbelievable telling me how important it is to stay here in the Raider Nation," Woodley said.
Judging from Raider Nation's reaction, they are looking forward to having Woodley in Oakland. And he's excited to be here. "I can't wait to start wearing the Silver and Black," he said.