Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons has already been called a leader by many of his teammates. Heading into training camp this Friday at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Timmons will take a more defined approach in preparing his teammates on defense to prepare for a more successful 2014 season in the NFL.
Possibly the most effective defensive player on the roster over the past four seasons, Timmons saw himself being relied on more and more to give leadership to a struggling squad. "With me being one of the older guys," Timmons said recently, "I understand that if everybody does their job, everyone is going to make plays." According to Timmons, he feels his job includes a lot more than just making plays.
Timmons was a number one draft pick in 2007 and has spent much of the Steelers' summer workouts mentoring a young linebackers corps. Ryan Shazier, 2014's number one draft pick and last year's top pick, Jarvis Jones top that list. One of the things both young players can gain is simply by recognizing that Timmons' consistent play during the past two 8-8 seasons helped him to lead the team in tackles, alter momentum in the Steelers' favor and tie for the most interceptions on the team. Teams could hardly ask for more from a veteran.
While Timmons may shoulder some of the responsibility for helping the Steelers get back to playoff form in 2014, it will all begin in training camp. He has the respect of other veteran defenders. He is taking extra time with the younger guys who will one day step into his shoes and position. "We have all the potential in the world to get things back on track," admitted Timmons. "We've brought in some quality players like Mike Mitchell and Cam Thomas who will make us stronger and deeper...some of the new guys like Arthur Moats got a few more reps that will help him adjust to the schemes." Timmons feels that Shazier taking reps with the first-team defense has also helped the young player put all the pieces together to becoming a big factor in Dick LeBeau's defense.
Timmons spends much of his offseason training hard to avoid injuries that could hamper his ability to play effectively and he credits that workload with helping him give more to his teammates. "I have to take care of my body so I won't let down my teammates...I know where we want to go," Timmons said. "I want to be a model citizen for this team because we're very young right now. It's why I do the things I do and why I carry myself a certain way."
Timmons' 460 tackles in the past four season ranks best among Steelers defenders and includes a team-high 135 combined tackles (in 2010) and 93 in 2011. Although Timmons is well-respected for his serious take on the game, his teammates understand that he isn't as vocal as some players because he always wants to lead by example.
In a recent article by SteelersGab.com, Timmons was ranked the number three most critical players for the Steelers in 2014.