Steelers' Foster has definitive role this year
A year ago, guard Ramon Foster considered exploring free agency, partly because he wasn't sure of his role with the Steelers.
The Steelers had committed to rebuilding an oft-maligned offensive line. The previous NFL drafts had netted All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey, No. 1 pick David DeCastro and No. 2 pick Mike Adams.
So Foster contemplated offers from several teams — including the New York Jets, New York Giants and Chicago Bears. Ultimately, Foster and the Steelers agreed on a three-year deal shortly before the draft.
“I wanted to gain the respect of the guys in the room, so when I re-signed I got text messages from a lot of them,” Foster said. “It was good to see them respect me in that sense.
“I'm glad I'm here because I think the city has accepted me, too. We've done a lot of things we can build on, but we need to keep everybody together.”
The offensive line struggled early, in part because replacing guard Willie Colon and tackle Max Starks wasn't a seamless process. Then Pouncey went down with a season-ending knee injury on the Steelers' first possession in the season opener against Tennessee.
As the Steelers (6-8) prepare to face Green Bay (7-6-1) on Sunday in another game with playoff implications, it's clear Foster has assumed an even larger role than he could have imagined when the Steelers were closing an 8-8 season a year ago.
“I don't want to let my guys down,” said Foster, who five weeks ago missed only his second game in three seasons. “It's all about what you put on tape. I might not be the flashiest or prettiest guy, but I'm getting the job done.”
As the Steelers' most durable linemen over the past three seasons, the fifth-year guard has played through pain without complaint.
“There's no doubt he leads by example. I wouldn't say his role changed because he's always been a leader,” Adams said. “He'll do whatever he can to help the team.”
The job became increasingly difficult with Pouncey out. It didn't get easier as the offensive line surrendered 18 sacks of Ben Roethlisberger while the Steelers started 0-4.
“Certain situations showed we didn't play well,” Foster said. “Things weren't clicking, but now it's showing at the end of the year. Right now, we're building for years to come.”
The offensive line has given up only five sacks in the past four games. Roethlisberger wasn't sacked in back-to-back games against Cleveland and Baltimore.
“Ben did a good job of taking care of us by getting rid of the ball,” Foster said.
While this season has taken its toll on some, Foster has remained even-keeled.
“Ramon's thing is don't let anybody or anything take away your smile,” second-year tackle Kelvin Beachum said. “He keeps things light in the locker room, and he's helped make this an enjoyable environment to work.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL parity makes playoff chase a multi-team muddle
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth
- Play of nose tackles could have impact on Steelers’ stretch run
- Steelers’ Wheaton embraces expanding role
- Steelers Film Session: Sticking with what works
- Rossi: As Blount walked, Porter called
- Lack of experienced backup means more work for Steelers RB Bell
- Steelers cut ties with running back Blount after incident in Tennessee
- Steelers notebook: Heinz Field not in play for Bills-Jets
- Steelers rally past Titans for key win
- Workhorse role suits Steelers running back Bell