Pittsburgh Steelers: James Farrior On His Way Out?

TJ JenkinsAnalyst IMay 1, 2010

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 27:  Willis McGahee #23 of the Baltimore Ravens carries the ball against James Farrior #51 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 27, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

James Farrior is currently 35 years old and truly showing it by his performance on the field. Though he had over 100 tackles last year he is still regularly abused by opposing teams’ passing attacks.

With Lawrence Timmons coming into his own in the middle of the field, the signing of Larry Foote, and the drafting of at least one player that could potentially play on the inside in a 3-4 scheme Farrior’s days in the NFL could very well be numbered.

That’s not due to any fault of his own. It simply happens when your body ages ,you lose speed, strength and the toll that your body’s been taking for a 14 year career starts to add up. Factor into that equation that the middle linebacker position is historically one of the most violent positions, it’s a wonder how a man can make a 14 year career out of throwing his body to the wind and leaving it all on the field like Farrior has.

Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Ultimate Farrior’ he was the runner up for the 2004 Defensive Player Of The Year Award, falling just short to Baltimore Raven’s safety Ed Reed. He helped engineer two Super Bowl wins in his Steelers career and that will never be forgotten.

It’s quite amazing how such a soft-spoken man can be such a ferocious hitter in the middle, something that has always fit well in the Steelers organization.

But, as Robert Frost said: "Nothing gold can stay." and likewise it applies to the human spirit, the human body and the mentality of being a bloodthirsty NFL player.

Last year, we truly saw a drop off from the Ultimate Farrior, getting beat time and again by most notably Ravens running back Ray Rice the speedy youngster ran over, around and into Farrior multiple times and more often than not claimed the spoils of the victor.

With the threat of Rice facing the Steelers a bare minimum of twice a year, this obviously cannot go on for an extended period of time. Farrior may very well see his playing time dwindle, pending on how his body holds up for another beating in the middle of a hard nosed defense.

Larry Foote was more of an insurance policy, a just in case if you will. Should Farrior go down or slow down for that matter, Foote may well see time on the field. Not that that scenario is all that much better, but it would allow Timmons to be on the field more, thus being able to cover the speedier tight ends, running backs, etc.

I think we can all agree that at the very least Timmons needs to be the man from this point forward for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His raw athleticism, tenacity and dedication to his team make him the model Steelers player and he’s going to do great things in the middle for this defense once more.