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fordfixer
05-02-2009, 11:06 PM
Teammates resigned to Foote's departure

By Scott Brown, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, May 2, 2009

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 23301.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_623301.html)

Several of his teammates talked about linebacker Larry Foote as if he has played his last game for the Steelers.

Nothing coach Mike Tomlin said after the second of two mini-camp practices the Steelers held Friday indicated that Foote will return for the upcoming season.

Tomlin said he and Foote have been in contact and that the two agreed Foote should stay away from mini-camp this weekend even though it is mandatory. Beyond that, Tomlin said, "I won't speculate on what may or may not happen in the not-so-distant future."

Foote requested that the Steelers trade or release him in February so he can go elsewhere and be an every-down player.

Foote, who will be 29 in June, is going into the final year of his contract, and the Steelers are expected to release the eighth-year veteran if they are unable to deal him.

"Of course we're going to miss him but once you're a Steeler, you're always a Steeler," running back Willie Parker said. "That's how we live. (Joey) Porter, he's been gone for a year or two. We still keep in touch with him."

"We are all a band of brothers," linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. "I have nothing but love for that guy."

Timmons' emergence may make the decision to jettison Foote, who has been a starter at inside linebacker since 2004, an easier one for the Steelers.

Timmons, the team's first-round pick in 2007, had 71 tackles, five sacks and an interception last season. The 6-1, 234-pounder is athletic and versatile enough to defend both the run and the pass. He is also one of the Steelers' hardest hitters, and, at the age of 22, Timmons still has a pretty high ceiling as far as growth.

Foote would have had a difficult time holding off Timmons, who started two games last season, even if he hadn't asked out of Pittsburgh because of his desire for a bigger role.

"Y'all see what he can do," Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor said of Timmons. "I ain't got to explain what he can do."

If the Steelers grant Foote his wish, they'll lose a colorful and productive player who has long been a magnet for reporters and has also had a strong presence in the team's locker room.

Foote's name is still hanging above his locker.

But his teammates seemed resigned to the reality that one corner of the Steelers' locker room suddenly got a lot quieter.

Assuming Foote doesn't return, he'll become the second starter from last year's Super-Bowl-winning team to leave the Steelers.

Cornerback Bryant McFadden signed with the Arizona Cardinals in March but he is still close with many of his former teammates.

McFadden and Taylor send text messages to each other on a daily basis.

"He hated leaving the guys. Anyone who leaves here just hates leaving," Taylor said. "We all know it's a business, but the guys in this locker room we know how close we are and what we do on and off the field, going out to eat, taking trips, just hanging out with each other. It's like a big family. We love each other, and it's going to always be like that."

The Steelers could have fined Foote for missing mini-camp, but Tomlin said that wasn't a consideration because each of them agreed that it was best if he stayed away.

"In terms of speculating what's going to happen with him, I don't have a crystal ball," Tomlin said, "so at this time I think it would be best for me not to comment in regards to that."

NKySteeler
05-02-2009, 11:15 PM
"Y'all see what he can do," Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor said of Timmons. "I ain't got to explain what he can do."

He better.... It's a big role to fill....

mshifko
05-03-2009, 02:24 AM
"Y'all see what he can do," Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor said of Timmons. "I ain't got to explain what he can do."

He better.... It's a big role to fill....

one he'll fill with relative ease IMO...

SidSmythe
05-03-2009, 08:26 AM
I think FOOTE is too valuable at his salary to let go, especially when TIMMONS still runs the risk of getting injured. Or what if Farrior goes down???

If FOOTE had a $4.5 million price tag, now that would be different.