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Steelers ILB Farrior is hoping Foote returns

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

James Farrior and Larry Foote played side-by-side in the Steelers starting lineup for five seasons. The inside linebacker tandem warmed up together before every game and became extremely close.

Their relationship continues to this day. When Foote became an unrestricted free agent after one season with Detroit, Farrior and Foote discussed the possibility of Foote returning to the Steelers to create more depth at linebacker.

"That's my boy. I'd love to have him back,'' Farrior said.

A reunion isn't out of the question. But the Steelers will have to wait in line behind at least two other teams — Arizona and Washington.

Foote visited the Redskins on Tuesday and is scheduled to meet Thursday with the Cardinals, along with another former Steelers linebacker turned unrestricted free agent, Joey Porter.

"I've been calling him. I talked to him (Tuesday) morning when he was in Washington,'' said Farrior, who is visiting family in Virginia. "He definitely wanted to make the trip to Arizona. He wants to take all of his trips.''

Despite his friendships on the team, Foote's desire to return to the Steelers probably isn't as strong as that of free safety Ryan Clark, who accepted a below-market contract to remain in Pittsburgh.

Clark's agent, Joel Turner, said Clark's experience should have resulted in him signing a deal in the $20-$25 million range. Instead, Clark re-signed for approximately $14 million.

Foote asked for his release before the 2009 season because the Steelers didn't offer him a contract extension entering the final year of his contract. Foote also believed the Steelers would have asked him to take a pay cut if he remained for his final season.

According to, Foote is hoping to exceed inside linebacker Scott Fujita's three-year deal with Cleveland worth $14 million, including $8 million guaranteed.

Foote might get his wish because Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was Bill Cowher's offensive coordinator with the Steelers when Foote was there, is seeking a replacement for inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, who signed a free-agent contract with Miami.

If Foote does consider the Steelers, Farrior has no doubt he would be a perfect fit.

"A player like that could help the team win a championship,'' Farrior said.

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