No fair-weather Farrior

James Farrior has stepped into more of a leadership role with the Steelers this season and it suits him well.

PITTSBURGH – He stands in the tunnel leading out to the playing field, where the thousands of screaming fans and oncoming violence await, calm, cool and collected.

There are no histrionics or crazy dances.

That's not what James Farrior is about.

His is a classic cool, a quiet leadership that is spoken in actions, not words. Think James Dean in football pads more than Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull.

Farrior addresses his teammates, speaking only about the importance of living for that week, for that game, and raises his hand into the air. The other 44 men dressed for the game follow suit and the Pittsburgh Steelers are ready to play football.

"I just speak from the heart," said Farrior of his pre-game speech. "It's nothing special. I'm not asking anybody to ride with me or anything like that. I'm just speaking from the heart."

That is the ritual the Steelers have followed for all 10 of their games – five preseason, five regular season – this year. Thus far, it's led them to a 4-1 record and a first-place position in the AFC North.

In previous seasons, Jerome Bettis or Joey Porter would give the final speech before Pittsburgh headed onto the field. But with both of those players gone, Farrior has stepped into a leadership role that seems to suit him, and this team, well.

"With Joey gone, I knew we needed somebody to fill that void," Farrior said.

First-year head coach Mike Tomlin said Farrior is a natural leader.

"James is a professional," said Tomlin, who at 35 is just three years older than Farrior. "His experience and all of those things are a big factor, but the quality of play is probably the defining factor of who he is. He's playing at a very high level. We appreciate it. We need it. He's provided it for us."

On a team loaded with defensive playmakers such as strong safety Troy Polamalu, it has been Farrior who has paced the NFL's top-rated defense thus far. Farrior has recorded 25 tackles, a team-high four sacks and a forced fumble.

If he continues at his current pace, he might just win the Defensive Player of the Year award that eluded him in 2004 when he finished second to Baltimore's Ed Reed.

The sacks already match his career high set last season and have him tied with Denver's Elvis Dumervil for the AFC lead. Farrior, it seems, has gotten better with age.

"I know people say you're supposed to be slowing down at this point in your career, but I really didn't play a whole lot my first few years in the league, so I tell them I've still got a lot left," said Farrior, who began his career as a first-round pick of the New York Jets.

Though he saw regular action with the Jets, for whom he played from 1997 through 2001, Farrior didn't become a full-time starter in New York until his final season there. He recorded 142 tackles, one sack and two interceptions for the Jets in 2001 before signing with the Steelers as a free agent the following season.

"The media there was crazy, especially with me being a No. 1 pick," said Farrior. "When I didn't play right away, there was a lot of stuff said and written about me."

But Farrior has found a home at inside linebacker with the Steelers.

"I've been fortunate this season," Farrior admitted. "I've been at the right place at the right time. (Defensive coordinator Dick) LeBeau has called some good defenses that have allowed me to come free."

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\nPITTSBURGH – He stands in the tunnel leading out to the playing field, where the thousands of screaming fans and oncoming violence await, calm, cool and collected.\r\n\r\n

There are no histrionics or crazy dances.\r\n\r\n

That's not what James Farrior is about.\r\n\r\n

His is a classic cool, a quiet leadership that is spoken in actions, not words. Think James Dean in football pads more than Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull.\r\n\r\n

Farrior addresses his teammates, speaking only about the importance of living for that week, for that game, and raises his hand into the air. The other 44 men dressed for the game follow suit and the Pittsburgh Steelers are ready to play football.\r\n\r\n

\"I just speak from the heart,\" said Farrior of his pre-game speech. \"It's nothing special. I'm not asking anybody to ride with me or anything like that. I'm just speaking from the heart.\"\r\n\r\n

That is the ritual the Steelers have followed for all 10 of their games – five preseason, five regular season – this year. Thus far, it's led them to a 4-1 record and a first-place position in the AFC North.\r\n\r\n

In previous seasons, Jerome Bettis or Joey Porter would give the final speech before Pittsburgh headed onto the field. But with both of those players gone, Farrior has stepped into a leadership role that seems to suit him, and this team, well.\r\n\r\n

\"With Joey gone, I knew we needed somebody to fill that void,\" Farrior said.\r\n\r\n\r\n

First-year head coach Mike Tomlin said Farrior is a natural leader.\r\n\r\n

\"James is a professional,\" said Tomlin, who at 35 is just three years older than Farrior. \"His experience and all of those things are a big factor, but the quality of play is probably the defining factor of who he is. He's playing at a very high level. We appreciate it. We need it. He's provided it for us.\"\r\n\r\n

On a team loaded with defensive playmakers such as strong safety Troy Polamalu, it has been Farrior who has paced the NFL's top-rated defense thus far. Farrior has recorded 25 tackles, a team-high four sacks and a forced fumble.\r\n\r\n

If he continues at his current pace, he might just win the Defensive Player of the Year award that eluded him in 2004 when he finished second to Baltimore's Ed Reed.\r\n\r\n

The sacks already match his career high set last season and have him tied with Denver's Elvis Dumervil for the AFC lead.\r\nFarrior, it seems, has gotten better with age.\r\n\r\n

\"I know people say you're supposed to be slowing down at this point in your career, but I really didn't play a whole lot my first few years in the league, so I tell them I've still got a lot left,\" said Farrior, who began his career as a first-round pick of the New York Jets.\r\n\r\n

Though he saw regular action with the Jets, for whom he played from 1997 through 2001, Farrior didn't become a full-time starter in New York until his final season there. He recorded 142 tackles, one sack and two interceptions for the Jets in 2001 before signing with the Steelers as a free agent the following season.\r\n\r\n

\"The media there was crazy, especially with me being a No. 1 pick,\" said Farrior. \"When I didn't play right away, there was a lot of stuff said and written about me.\"\r\n\r\n

But Farrior has found a home at inside linebacker with the Steelers.\r\n\r\n

\"I've been fortunate this season,\" Farrior admitted. \"I've been at the right place at the right time. (Defensive coordinator Dick) LeBeau has called some good defenses that have allowed me to come free.\"\r\n\r\n

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.","mobileBody":" PITTSBURGH – He stands in the tunnel leading out to the playing field, where the thousands of screaming fans and oncoming violence await, calm, cool and collected.

There are no histrionics or crazy dances.

That's not what James Farrior is about.

His is a classic cool, a quiet leadership that is spoken in actions, not words. Think James Dean in football pads more than Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull.

Farrior addresses his teammates, speaking only about the importance of living for that week, for that game, and raises his hand into the air. The other 44 men dressed for the game follow suit and the Pittsburgh Steelers are ready to play football.

\"I just speak from the heart,\" said Farrior of his pre-game speech. \"It's nothing special. I'm not asking anybody to ride with me or anything like that. I'm just speaking from the heart.\"

That is the ritual the Steelers have followed for all 10 of their games – five preseason, five regular season – this year. Thus far, it's led them to a 4-1 record and a first-place position in the AFC North.

In previous seasons, Jerome Bettis or Joey Porter would give the final speech before Pittsburgh headed onto the field. But with both of those players gone, Farrior has stepped into a leadership role that seems to suit him, and this team, well.

\"With Joey gone, I knew we needed somebody to fill that void,\" Farrior said.

First-year head coach Mike Tomlin said Farrior is a natural leader.

\"James is a professional,\" said Tomlin, who at 35 is just three years older than Farrior. \"His experience and all of those things are a big factor, but the quality of play is probably the defining factor of who he is. He's playing at a very high level. We appreciate it. We need it. He's provided it for us.\"

On a team loaded with defensive playmakers such as strong safety Troy Polamalu, it has been Farrior who has paced the NFL's top-rated defense thus far. Farrior has recorded 25 tackles, a team-high four sacks and a forced fumble.

If he continues at his current pace, he might just win the Defensive Player of the Year award that eluded him in 2004 when he finished second to Baltimore's Ed Reed.

The sacks already match his career high set last season and have him tied with Denver's Elvis Dumervil for the AFC lead. Farrior, it seems, has gotten better with age.

\"I know people say you're supposed to be slowing down at this point in your career, but I really didn't play a whole lot my first few years in the league, so I tell them I've still got a lot left,\" said Farrior, who began his career as a first-round pick of the New York Jets.

Though he saw regular action with the Jets, for whom he played from 1997 through 2001, Farrior didn't become a full-time starter in New York until his final season there. He recorded 142 tackles, one sack and two interceptions for the Jets in 2001 before signing with the Steelers as a free agent the following season.

\"The media there was crazy, especially with me being a No. 1 pick,\" said Farrior. \"When I didn't play right away, there was a lot of stuff said and written about me.\"

But Farrior has found a home at inside linebacker with the Steelers.

\"I've been fortunate this season,\" Farrior admitted. \"I've been at the right place at the right time. (Defensive coordinator Dick) LeBeau has called some good defenses that have allowed me to come free.\"

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.","skipOnMobile":false,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-10-13T20:51:00","authorOverride":"Dale Lolley","role":"For SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:475238]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:475238]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"9829","name":"Virginia - Football"},{"id":"354","name":"Virginia"},{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh 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