Farrior meets the press

Steelers inside linebacker James Farrior discusses Jerome Bettis, Shaun Alexander, and playing linebacker for the Steelers.


On what Bill Cowher has stressed as the most important thing this team has to prepare for:
"I think the most important thing he told us was not to get too distracted and remember the reason we came here. We came here to win the game. It is still about the game."

On what Jerome Bettis is going through this week:
"He's probably going to have a hectic week all week being that this is his hometown and you guys making big hype about him coming back home to Detroit for the Super Bowl. This might be his last year. I'm sure his week will be a lot different than everybody elses."

On whether he thinks Bettis is reveling in this attention:
"He's the best guy to be in that position. He knows how to handle it better than anybody else in the locker room."

On facing Shaun Alexander:
"He's definitely the key. He's a good back, what can you say. He had 1,800 yards rushing this year. They have a great offensive line. We're just going to have to play solid, gap-sound defense and everybody has to be in position to make plays."

On how it feels being a rare free agent signing by the Steelers:
"The Steelers do it a little different than a lot of other teams in the NFL. They like the guys they go with in the draft and they really don't pick up a lot of free agents in the offseason. They try to focus on the guys that they have and I do feel a little honored I was one of the free agents that came here and that has been able to stick around."

On whether he thinks the Jets made a mistake by letting him go as a free agent:
"I don't think so. They've were in the playoffs last year. They had a great team last year and we faced them. I don't think it was a mistake, it was just a business decision more than anything."

On whether he feels more comfortable playing inside linebacker in Pittsburgh:
"I think so. I like the fit here. I've never played 3-4 linebacker in the middle before so that was a new thing for me. But I always felt I could play that position if the opportunity ever came. I enjoy the challenge and I looked forward to it when I got here and it's worked out great."

On what he likes about playing in the 3-4 vs. the 4-3:
"When you got a big guy like Casey Hampton in front of you and the other two ends in Aaron and Kimo, those guys do a lot for me. They take up a lot of blocks for me and cause a lot of confusion for offenses. A lot of times, those guys are getting double teamed and that leaves me and Larry [Foote] through to make the play. I think that's the best part of being in that defense."

On how much the Steelers' linebackers play off each other as a whole:
"We fit well together and definitely know what each other guy is going to be doing. We try to play off each other and help each other out. If somebody gets in a bad situation, one of us is there to help them out. We all work well together. We've been together for a couple years now and it's been working out great."

On who he would compare Shaun Alexander to:
"He reminds of Corey Dillon with his stature and his size and his athletic ability. I think he's a little faster than [Corey], but he's the best back in the business. It's going to be a tough day all day if we don't slow him down."

On whether stopping Alexander is priority number one for the defense:
"In my eyes. As a defensive player and as a linebacker, I feel like he's going to be the key. I go into the game thinking about stopping him first."

On the lack of publicity Alexander receives:
"Oh, we know who he is. We definitely pay attention to the highlights. We all watch it on TV. When you're in the NFL and watching games and watching teams, you know everything that's going on. He might not be getting a lot of publicity from you guys, but definitely the players understand what type of player he is and what he brings to the table."

On Joey Porter's on-field demeanor and leadership:
"Half the time I don't even understand what he's saying. He's got a high-pitched voice when he raises his voice. We just feel his energy more than anything and just feed off that."

On whether he was worried that he was not living up to his billing as a top 10 pick of the New York Jets:
"I was never worried about my playing ability. I always felt like I could play good football. It was frustrating my first couple of years. It was hard for me. It was a big adjustment for me coming from college being in the big city in New York learning how to be an NFL player. It took some time to adjust to it but I think I've come around."

On whether Matt Hasselbeck's mobility is underrated:
"Not to us. It definitely concerns us. It's a big part of his game. He throws very well when he gets outside of the pocket, so we're definitely going to have to be aware of his scrambling ability."

On Dick LeBeau:
"The guy is great. We all love the guy to death. He's a great coach and a great mind in the NFL. He's done so much for this defense and helped us out so tremendously with his wisdom and knowledge of the game. When he puts together a game plan, we feel like, if we execute it, we have a great chance to win the game."

On how special of a week this is for Bettis and Larry Foote, both natives of Detroit:
"They are our ambassadors this week. They are two guys from Detroit. People don't really talk about Larry being from Detroit because Jerome is getting all the attention, but this is Foote's town and he loves Detroit. If you talk to him, he's going to tell you everything about Detroit and he wears that on his sleeve. He has a lot of pride and he loves this city. We're going to look up to those guys all this week to help us out wherever we go."

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