At 36 years of age, James Farrior is still the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ elite defense. After a sub-par season in 2009, it was understandably assumed that Farrior was on the decline and probably not worthy of a starting middle linebacker role in Dick LeBeau’s defense. Well, in 2010 he found the fountain of youth once more, playing one of his best seasons in years during Pittsburgh’s third trip to the Super Bowl in the past six years. Now Farrior leads the veteran Steelers into Baltimore to take on the rival Ravens in Week 1 of the new NFL season.
Farrior joined 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh to talk about getting pumped up for the Ravens on Sunday, whether he likes that the Steelers are playing the Ravens right out of the gate this season, if he thinks Pittsburgh has an advantage over most teams because of their experience and stability on the roster, how the organization doesn’t allow contract talks to serve as a distraction, the importance of Troy Polamalu and James Harrison staying healthy all season, and why squaring off against the rival Ravens never gets old.
On his excitement to start the new season on Sunday:
“Oh no doubt about it. It’s Ravens week. Those guys get extra excited for this week, we know what type of game it’s going to be. I think the two teams, we play each other so close every year that we have the same type of style.”
Does he like playing Baltimore right out of the gate:
“I like having adverse circumstances. It’s a big time rivalry with those guys — the opening game of the season and what a better way to get started!”
If he thinks the Steelers will have an advantage over most teams in the NFL this year because of how much stability there’s been on the roster:
“Well just looking at it on paper, it would seem like we would have a distinctive advantage having a lot of veteran guys around here but you never know how the season is going to shake out; every year is a different year, and you’ve just got to find your stride when you’re with a team and it’s a new season.”
On how the team seems to not let contract talks serve as a distraction:
“Well I think it’s mostly just up to the ownership. I think the Rooneys do a good job of not letting contract negotiations be a distraction. They always do well by their players and always have been fair to the guys they have around. You know once you’re a Steeler and are in this organization, you play well you’ll be rewarded and that’s the attitude guys have. They know they have a chance if they’re doing the things right that they need to do to help this team win. So it’s never really a big issue.”
If he thinks Polamlau and James Harrison will be able to stay healthy this year:
“I certainly hope so. Those guys are gamers. Those guys know what time it is when the game is on the line we can count on those guys no matter what the situation is unless they’re really hurt. But I don’t think these little mishaps are going to hold either one of those guys back. They’re great competitors and are doing everything they need to as far as rehab and getting back on the field. So I’m not worried about it too much.”
If going up against the Ravens ever gets old:
“Every game is special. Every time you go up against those guys you get warm feeling in your heart, because you know it’s going to be a rough, tough drag-out war. Those guys are going to being bringing it to us, and we’re going to be doing the same. There’s not going to be too many secrets, it’s going to be a hard-hitting game as it usually is. And it usually comes down to a couple of plays at the end of the game.”