Steelers defensive captain James Farrior didn't even bother knocking on wood for good luck.
Farrior made his 11th start of the 2008 season, and his 54th consecutive start (including the playoffs) in Thursday night's 27-10 win against the Cincinnati Bengals .
"My body feels good," Farrior said. "I feel good mentally. I'm just ready to keep playing Football.''
Since 2007, Farrior, fellow linebackers James Harrison and Larry Foote, cornerback Ike Taylor and tackle Willie Colon are the only starters who haven't been sidelined because of injury or illness.
Not bad for a 33-year-old who signed a five-year contract extension in August. Farrior is three years older than Harrison, five years older than Foote, five years older than Taylor and eight years older than Colon.
Despite the obligatory bumps and bruises that result from a dozen years of toiling in the NFL, Farrior not only lines up and starts every week, he continues to excel.
This season, given the success of the Steelers' top-ranked defense, Farrior is playing at a Pro Bowl level.
Farrior is on pace to lead the Steelers in tackles for the third year in a row, and the fifth time in six years.
Asked about the longevity and endurance that belies his age, Farrior credited his intense offseason workouts with famed speed and conditioning coach Tom Shaw at Walt Disney's Wide World of Sports.
"To be in good shape at this time of the year, you've got to do a lot of work in the offseason," Farrior said. "Tom Shaw, I don't know what I would do without him.
"I give him a lot of the credit to keep me this healthy this time of season. Guys are usually starting to get banged up. Injuries are starting to be a hassle. But if you train and work out good during your off-time and keep your body healthy, you get yourself ready for that stretch run at the end of the season.''
Shaw said Farrior is a special talent because he continues to work hard even as some of his peers are resting their bodies from the rigors of the previous season.
Other Steelers who trained regularly with Shaw last offseason included Taylor, fellow cornerback Bryant McFadden and receiver Santonio Holmes.
"James really is good at what he does, but (his) body has to adapt to the stress that he's going to put on it," Shaw said. "That's why we continue to work hard in the offseason. We're trying to work them but not kill them. We train hard - but smart. I want you to work as hard as you can to get your body in shape.''
The hard work paid off. Farrior entered his 12th training camp at a physical level not much different from when he joined the league as a first-round draft pick.
"We test - that's the big difference in our program,'' Shaw said. "I want to make sure that if your vertical jump was this high when you came out, it's the same thing for your 12th year.''
Said Farrior: "This is what I expected. This is what I go down there and do all that hard work for, to feel like this late in the season.''