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There's no counting out Steelers lineman Foster

| Friday, June 15, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
Steelers offensive lineman Ramon Foster during mini camp on the South Side June 13, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Steelers offensive lineman Ramon Foster during mini camp on the South Side June 13, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Steelers offensive lineman Ramon Foster during mini camp on the South Side June 13, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

Rookie first-round pick David DeCastro has all but been anointed the Steelers' starting right guard of not only the future but also the present.

Forgive Ramon Foster while he yawns.

If there is one thing Foster has grown accustomed to, it's that he's constantly being overlooked. But he has consistently proven the organization wrong.

“At this point, it is my nature to not let it bother me,” Foster said. “If something good happens for me, and I earn something, that's OK with me. If a certain situation arises for me that is against me, I am going to fight for it. It's my mentality.”

Foster was an undrafted rookie free agent who had little to no chance to make the team three years ago. He not only made the team, but he also played in 14 games, starting the final three.

The following year, Foster was in a training camp battle for a roster spot with third-round pick Kraig Urbik. Foster won and started the final 11 games, including Super Bowl XLV.

Still, there was plenty of doubt.

Foster found himself on the outside looking in during training camp last year while Doug Legursky, Chris Scott, Tony Hills and Trai Essex got shots to nail down a starting guard spot before him. Legursky was awarded the job before Foster was given a shot.

“You just have to keep fighting, and that's what I did,” Foster said.

Foster replaced an injured Legursky during Week 3 and started the final 14 games at right guard, including the wild-card playoff loss to Denver.

Now, despite DeCastro being billed as the next great lineman in Steelers' history, Foster ran with the first team at right guard throughout minicamp, not DeCastro.

“He has been fighting ever since he stepped foot in this locker room,” veteran lineman Willie Colon said. “I won't count him out of being a starter at all. I think you would have to be a fool to count Ramon out of anything.”

But Foster knows the reality of the situation.

The Steelers didn't use their first-round pick so a player can sit behind an undrafted player. Foster knows DeCastro will get the first crack of winning the starting right guard spot during training camp, but the 6-foot-6, 325-pounder has been through that before.

“I am just worried about what I do,” Foster said. “If I worried about what they are doing, then I mess myself up.”

Foster has 28 career starts, 23 at right guard over the past 26 games.

According to Pro Football Focus, Foster allowed three sacks, 16 hurries and one quarterback hit, making him the team's second-most consistent offensive lineman behind Colon, who played only one game before being lost for the year with an injury.

“Ramon works extremely hard and is a real humble guy,” Colon said. “I have a lot of respect for him.”

The Steelers showed some loyalty to Foster when they offered him a restricted free agent tender of $1.26 million during the offseason. After getting some outside interest, Foster signed with the Steelers. He will become an unrestricted free agent next year.

“They definitely have some confidence in me,” Foster said. “It is one of those things when you get a first-rounder … we will see how it plays out, but I am not giving up, no way. It would have to be something catastrophic for me to just bow down and let him have it.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mkaboly@tribweb.com.

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