By Christina Rivers
Lawrence Timmons, LB #94
Resides: Franklin Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Hometown: Florence, South Carolina
College: Florida State
Experience: 6 years
For a man named after Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwan because his mother was a huge basketball fan, Timmons has shown a flash of Hall of Fame qualities in his lifetime. Growing up in Florence, South Carolina, Timmons’ high school football career at Wilson High School (Tigers) was spent playing tight end and linebacker. His senior year, Timmons was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year and gained the honor of being among the Super Prep Elite. In 2003, Timmons played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Rivals.com named Timmons to the SuperPrep Elite 50 team and Timmons also was a PrepStar Top 100 Dream Team member. As a top prep prospect in South Carolina, Timmons logged 150 tackles and two sacks, then added 47 catches for over 800 yards and five touchdowns.
Timmons attended Florida State University and was an honored player for the Seminoles. His first two years were spent mainly with the special teams and as backup linebacker. As a true freshman in 2004, Timmons played in all 12 games and recorded 12 tackles and was second among all Seminole freshman During his sophomore year, Timmons spent the majority of the season as the backup to Ernie Simms, who Timmons says was the best defensive player he’d played with in college. Timmons’ size helped him earn the top newcomer award on defense during spring practice in 2005. His junior season, Timmons became the number nine overall linebacker in the country as rated by ESPN. Timmons played in 13 games that year and was ranked second on the teams for tackles. He also blocked two punts, forced two fumbles and recovered one, recorded three sacks and logged six quarerback hurries. His senior year, Timmons was named an AP All-ACC honorable mention and Rivals.com placed him on the second team All-ACC list. He completed his college career with 126 tackles and eight sacks.
The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Timmons in the 2007 NFL Draft, 15th overall. During his rookie season, Timmons played in 16 games, recording 13 tackles, and had two fumble recoveries. In 2008, Timmons saw an increase in playing time. He logged 65 tackles, five sacks and an interception. As a member of the Super Bowl XLIII team, Timmons had five tackles in the Steelers’ 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Fellow teammate Larry Foote saw less time as Timmons took over as the Steelers moved him to the top of the depth chart in 2009. He recorded 78 tackles, had a career best seven sacks and created four forced fumbles. In 2010, Timmons led the team in tackles with 135, had three sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. The Steelers were so impressed with his play that they awarded Timmons a six year, $50 million contract extension on August 23, 2011.
Timmons has really stepped up his game in 2012. In nine games, he has logged 50 tackles. His remarkable play against the Kansas City Chiefs Monday night culminated into a game-saving interception in overtime to set up the winning field goal by Shaun Suisham. Timmons also grabbed an interception against the Tennessee Titans. Timmons has one sack on the season, a bone-rattling hit on Eli Manning of the New York Giants. His stats aren’t enough to describe the kind of season he’s having.
Timmons, a devout Baptist, devotes 10 percent of his income toward charitable causes within his church. A man who says that the best qualities for a person to have is “being humble,” Timmons has been not only a good guy, but a great guy. His superstition regarding games, Timmons says, is, “If I have a good game, the next game I do all the same stuff time-wise.” That includes eating the same foods, wearing the same clothes and never changing his shoes.
Timmons has been named the Steelers Digest Player of the Week twice since October. Against the Philadelphia Eagles, Timmons led the Steelers with nine tackles (two for a loss), hit Michael Vick twice and forced a fumble. Timmons’ ability to get good penetration through Philadelphia’s offensive line set up a Ziggy Hood sack.
Coach Mike Tomlin gave Timmons high praise for his play Monday night, and after the game, Timmons talked about his interception. “I was basically dropping back into hook coverage…reading the quarterback. I saw him throw the ball my way. I just read it, broke on it, caught the ball and made the play.”
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Christina Rivers is freelance journalist and photographer with a life-long love of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Credentialed with the organization, Christina provides a unique perspective gained through her knowledge and understanding of Steelers history, the Rooney family and relationships with past and present players. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.