Woodley brings star power to bowling league

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LaMarr Woodley has had plenty of experience in his career knocking over quarterbacks, but now he's turning his attention to knocking over bowling pins.

Earlier this month, Woodley became the fifth team owner in the new Pro Bowlers Association League, naming his team the Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits. He joins former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, former NFL All-Pro receiver Terrell Owens, Los Angeles Clippers star point guard Chris Paul and actor/comedian Kevin Hart.

"It was a good opportunity to get involved with the PBA. I've always bowled since I was a little kid and my mom and dad always do a lot of bowling," Woodley said. "It's something I do with me and my group of friends."

The PBA was very excited to add Woodley to its team of high-profile owners and hopes the owners will bring a new audience to the sport.

"LaMarr is a proven winner -- his first question was how he could start winning," said PBA commissioner Tom Clark. "There are already some natural rivalries within the PBA forming fast, especially with LaMarr's Pittsburgh team and Jerome's Detroit team, which will be great for the sport."

There already has been a little trash talk back and forth between Woodley and Bettis, with both owners anticipating the upcoming matchup at the PBA Detroit Winter Swing in January at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich.

In each competition, five bowlers from each team will bowl for individual qualifying rounds, as well as for their teams.

Scores for all five players after each qualifying round will be added together to determine the seeding positions for the Baker format stepladder finals.

The top three teams will bowl in a "shootout" round to determine the fourth team in each stepladder final.

Woodley's Jack Rabbits are made up of "franchise player" Osku Palermaa, Martin Larsen, Dan MacLelland, Thomas Larsen, Patrick Allen and supplemental pick Anthony LaCaze.

MacLelland, a former Saginaw Valley State All-American bowler, was a pick that carried a special connection for Woodley, a native of Saginaw, Mich.

One of the biggest reasons for Woodley's involvement is to promote his charity, The LaMarr Woodley Foundation, through the team and the PBA. Woodley plans to have his charity logo on all the team jerseys.

"My charity is here in Pittsburgh and also back home in Saginaw, and this is my first year actually having my charity so it's a good way of letting people know what I actually do," said Woodley.

In the future, the PBA envisions each team will have events in their home cities, such as challenge matches in which Bettis' team could play Woodley's team for charity.

"Its definitely something I would like to add with my foundation," Woodley said. "Jerome also does a lot of things in this community and we both have the same passion about doing community work.

"I know If I asked Jerome to be involved in anything I'm doing, I am sure he would most likely help me out."

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Eddy Montalvo: emontalvo@post-gazette.com.


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