Note: Recently, LLT was granted the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Lawrence Timmons, the Steelers' starting inside linebacker! The following is a transcript of their interview. Steelers Universe would like to extend our gratitude to Lawrence for taking the time to sit down with us, and Cristina Alor, Director of Public Relations for Rosenhaus Sports, for coordinating our interview with Lawrence!
This is Perry Biggerstaff with Steelersuniverse.com and we're talking to starting inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
SU: We are privileged to have you on today and we want to welcome you to the Steelers Universe family.
LT: Hey, thanks for having me.
SU: You know, like so many of the Steelers' fans, Lawrence, I enjoy that Steelers brand of football is played like football is suppose to be played. It's controlled aggression, it's intensity and passion. I know it's outside of your control, but on a personal level, how do the new NFL rules affect your playing? Do you think the NFL has gone too far in its bid to make the game safe?
LT: You know, I think that it has affected the game some, especially with the ball being moved to the 35 on kickoffs. A player has to be in a moving position before you hit them....before they catch the ball....you know, little things like that. It makes it tough for a defender like me, especially when I’m trying to stop somebody on a 3rd and long or 3rd and short. That can be a big play in the game and that’s just something that’s going to affect the defense.
SU: Do you think that they’re actually changing the game on a fundamental level? Is it actually changing Steelers football?
LT: Uh, that’s a tough question. You know, I just think that they were just going for a change. No offense, but I think it’s generated to score more points. The way they are going about it now... the way they’re doing rules....I don’t see anything where the defense is being put in a better position. All I see is the offense....but that’s just the day and times of football right now.
SU: On a regular basis, you have to be reminded about that Pittsburgh legacy at the linebacker position. Individually we had players like Jack Ham, Jack lambert, Greg Lloyd, and as a linebacking unit you have those incredible linebacker corps of the '70s and '90s. How does that legacy fit the way you train to play?
LT: You know, to me, it puts more gas on the fire towards my intensity and wanting to play and be a Steeler because when you put that jersey on and guys like those guys you named played in it....what more do you need to be pushed to play ball?
SU: Well, you know it's obviously something your conscious of. Is it something that the coaches remind you of as you train?
LT: Yeah, you know our coaches....you know Mike Tomlin is a great motivator. Coach LeBeau....You know....every meeting we have in the morning he always has a story for us....we always look forward to it. We have a great coaching staff that does a great job getting us players up....all the defensive players. And that's why we're one of the best franchises in the NFL.
SU: You know, with all the linebackers we just mentioned, you played beside someone who might be mentioned in the same bracket as those great steelers linebackers in the past. Tell us what it's like to play next to James Farrior and how instrumental was he in your development?
LT: You know, he was a big key. It was tough for me. I was kinda picking up things slower because I was playing two positions, you know. He sat me down, helped me with little things, giving me tips here and there and just being a big brother to me and I am just so thankful.
SU: Other than following "Dancing With the Stars"....What are you doing during the lockout?
LT: You know, right now I'm working out....I'm working out at Power Training right now in Pittsburgh in the offseason. I'm just chillin' there. I occasionally go back home to South Carolina to see my mom and dad. They've been married for over 25 years....a while now. You know, just taking it easy and just enjoying this time while I can. It's a good thing taking time off but I can't wait to get back into the swing of things.
SU: Are you working out with any of the teammates?
LT: Yeah, we have Matt Spaeth there....Willie Colon....I think James Harrison had come back. I haven't seen him yet but he works out there too. We have quite a few....at least 6 guys working there. Antonio Brown is one of them, too.
SU: You know, as a rookie you started out with that injury that hampered your ability to contribute, but you came back with a vengeance. And you very well may be the most versatile of the linebackers on the team right now. Your ability to pop outside and play outside linebacker when needed. Do you foresee a day when the depth at outside linebacker might be strong enough for you to stay inside?
LT: That's a good question....I don’t know....we'll see. That's a question that's up to the coaches, and you know, if we're ever put in that situation we'll see.
SU: Do you kinda like playing on the edge occasionally, though?
LT: Yeah, you know your blitzing off the end....that's always a good thing because you have a chance to get sacks. You know me being a linebacker....I'm all about that.
SU: Here's the scenario; it's Sunday afternoon, Steelers vs. Ravens, you walk out of the tunnel to the sound of 65,000 screaming fans, what’s your mindset?
LT: Definitely you know it's a Baltimore game. You know....being physical, you know it's a physical game, a game that's going to be dragged out to the last minute in the fourth quarter and that's just how its gonna be. It's not how you start, it's how you're going to finish, that's what type of game that is. And you know it's definitely a fun game for me, I enjoy playing Baltimore, you know, it's going to be a 5-star matchup.
SU: You know, as a college player, you had to dream about that moment. Is it what you envisioned? Does it seem unreal at times?
LT: Oh yeah. You know especially when you know we are going to the Super Bowl. When we did that, you know, just nothing like it. You know, you just....very rarely experience something like that in life. For me to experience that, words can't express my feelings.
SU: Now with all the fame and the obvious financial rewards of being a NFL player, what does Lawrence Timmons do to keep himself grounded? Is there somebody in your life who gives it to you straight to keep your feet on the ground?
LT: You know, I'm always a guy that always stayed around my family so I always have family members that always talk to me, you know, make sure I'm grounded. I do like community service. You know, I feel like when I give....I feel like a better person. I feel like I helped somebody out, and I did something good today. You know I'm a Christian so that means a lot to me.
SU: There's been some talk of an 18-game season and I'm going to be honest with you. From a fan's perspective, it's not something we want. I don't know where the Commissioner is coming up with the "fact" that the fans want 18 games. Do you want to see two more games added to the season? And personally what is your take on adding two more games? Do you feel like there's a level of hypocrisy in adding the two games when they are changing rules in the name of player safety?
LT: You know, I just feel like the whole situation with 18 games came out of nowhere. They want to pass it so fast and I feel like they should take a little more time with it. But I just think if you care about player safety, I don’t think 18 games is safe for anyone because you know 16 games is long enough and everybody's beat towards the end of the season. You see so many injuries backing up and you know it's a physical game. It's not a game that needs to be dragged out. I think 16 games is fair enough and we should just stick to the same game plan we have now.
SU: In 2010, you led the team with 135 tackles. You also had 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions and those numbers are almost identical to those posted by Ray Lewis who made the Pro Bowl. Do you feel like your numbers were deserving of Pro Bowl consideration last year?
LT: You know, I’m a confident person....of course you know I feel I should have been in the Pro Bowl. I was an alternate so I should have played, but you know....those are the voters....that's how they feel. All I can do is step out on Sunday and do my thing. I really can't do anything about that. I just try to be the best player I can be.
SU: What motivates you at this point in your career?
LT: I think a big motivator to me is just looking at James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel, you know, big guys like that....those guys....8, 9, 10 years in....with "X" amount of Pro Bowls and they still, you know, go out and hustle, do everything they need to do at work and when I see that I know that hey, I need to get on my job, I need to be doing what they're doing.
SU: You know, LT, it's just been a pleasure talking to you. If we can ever get past this lockout I want to wish you the best of luck this coming season. Can you tell everyone out there who's listening where Steelers fans need to go for all their Steelers needs?
This has been a Steelers Universe exclusive interview with inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
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