Is Woodley Ready for Full Workload?

James Harrison's appeal was denied Friday, so the Steelers really need a healthy LaMarr Woodley, who spoke only to SCI.net's Jim Wexell about it after Friday's practice.

PITTSBURGH – Don't suggest to LaMarr Woodley that he looks less than 100 percent.

One reporter – who's very familiar with this story – actually had the nerve to suggest just that to Woodley after he finished practicing with the Steelers on Friday.

"Why would you suggest that?" Woodley asked sharply.

Because Woodley appeared tentative and never went all out.

"Well nobody's going all out," he said. "It's cold out there."

Woodley will finish a full week of practice on Saturday and hopes to play a complete game Monday night in San Francisco for the first time since he went down in a heap with a hamstring injury on Oct. 30.

At that point, Woodley was on a roll and was making a beeline for Tom Brady and sack No. 8.5 in four games when he went down.

Woodley didn't get the sack, of course, and has been sitting with a team-high of 9 sacks ever since.

After the New England game, Woodley didn't practice until Nov. 30 in preparation for the Dec. 4 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He started that game, but managed only a handful of snap before leaving. He hadn't been back on the field until this week.

"I feel pretty good," Woodley said Friday, before repeating, "I feel pretty good."

Better than he did going into that Cincinnati game?

"Yeah, I feel twice as better as I did going into that game. But it just got a little tight (against Cincinnati). It was nothing bad. I was just being smart about the situation, coming out, and then it went away."

With James Harrison's appeal of a one-game suspension having been denied by Ted Cottrell on Friday, and reserve Chris Carter unlikely to play because of his hamstring injury, the Steelers are thin at outside linebacker. The only reserves behind Woodley and Jason Worilds are inside linebackers Lawrence Timmons (a starter) and Mortty Ivy, who was signed from the practice squad for the Cincinnati game and hasn't taken a defensive snap in the NFL.

With such little depth, it appears Woodley must play a bulk of the snaps Monday night.

"That's the game plan," Woodley said. "I've been out there practicing all week, and I'm feeling good."

It's just that he doesn't look it.

NOTES – Woodley was feeling good in one regard: He filled up Carter's car with popcorn and put a sign in the windshield that read, "This is what I get for not listening to Woodley." Carter, a rookie, said it was all in fun. ... Carter, Troy Polamalu (hamstring), Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) and Emmanuel Sanders (foot) missed Friday's practice. Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) was listed as having limited participation. ... Marcus Gilbert was back at right tackle after missing the previous day with an illness.


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