The Steelers placed linebacker LaMarr Woodley on injured reserve today, ending his season and perhaps his career as a Steeler. A converted defensive end coming out of Michigan, Woodley became an adept pass rusher, highlighted by the sack and forced fumble that won Superbowl XLIII. Since that dominant 2008 season, Woodley has struggled to stay on the field with various minor injuries in his legs. Those lower-body injuries took their toll again, this time it's his right calf.
The steady stream of calf and hamstring injuries (some of which have been attributed to poor conditioning) may spell the end of Woodley's time in the Steel City. In the past three years, he has played in 10, 13, and 11 games, which isn't necessarily awful. Of course, the ultimate factor for many football decisions is money. The Steelers are currently a mess in regards to the salary cap in the near future. Woodley is scheduled to make $8 million in 2014.
Jason Worilds, who is playing for a new contract, has jumped on the opportunity provided by Woodley's absences, generating more pressure and causing more negative plays for opponents. In his fourth NFL season, Worilds seems to have changed the conversation from him being a bust to potentially being a starter on next year's defense. Facing Woodley's albatross of a contract, Worilds would almost certainly be a cheaper solution for a team that is going to have to cut some corners to get under the cap.
The odds seem to favor The Wood having played his last game in black and gold.