It would seem that former Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, even at the ripe old age of 31, still knows how to put a hit on a running back. Now with the Miami Dolphins, the local media reported that during a practice session earlier this week, he and a safety put a hit on running back Jay Ajayi that sent him off the field.
In fact, the hit resulted in the Pro Bowl running back suffering a concussion, so this is no laughing matter. It even caused the media to raise questions to Head Coach Adam Gase about why he was holding live-tackling drills during training camp.
“You’re not going to win either way”, he responded to the questions. “If we don’t go live, you guys write that we don’t work on tackling. If we do go live and somebody gets hurt, then you say we shouldn’t. It doesn’t matter. You’re going to be wrong either way. We feel like that’s best for our football team. We needed to go live and tackle and it’s football”.
This is of course the same approach that Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin has adopted in recent years when he brought back live-tackling sessions in training camp, something that had been missing in Latrobe literally for decades. These sessions were rare around the league at the time, but are beginning to become more popular.
It is understandable why, naturally. With practice time and conduct greatly monitored—one might say hindered—by the rules set forth in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, there is only so much time now for teams to go over the basic fundamentals of the game.
We have been seeing the effects of this around the league, as tackling technique has broken down across every level of the game, and we have seen a rise in missed tackles, Pittsburgh as much a culprit as any, even with the recent introduction of live tackling.
But back to Timmons, who played his college ball at Florida State, he is simply relieved that he hasn’t…left everything out on the field. When asked what he thinks of the heat after spending the past decade in Pittsburgh, he said, “I haven’t thrown up yet”.
Of course, he drew some national attention last season when he ended up vomiting on the field during the Steelers’ regular season trip down to Miami, only to be embarrassed by Ajayi’s 200-plus yard rushing performance against them, which helped serve as the catalyst for a turnaround.
I don’t know what formal offer if any the Steelers ever gave Timmons an in attempt to get him to stay in Pittsburgh, but the first draft pick of the Tomlin era accepted a two-year contract worth $12 million to start for the Dolphins. The Steelers will not see him this year unless they square off in the postseason.