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fordfixer
05-03-2009, 04:57 PM
Steelers Team Report
Updated: May 1, 2009, 11:01 AM EST

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team/pitts ... teamreport (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team/pittsburgh-steelers/teamreport)

Inside Slant
Just when it appeared Pittsburgh might keep its dominating defense virtually intact, another development occurred. Linebacker Larry Foote wants out and the Steelers apparently will oblige him.

Foote has not missed a game since he became a starting inside linebacker in 2004, but then they drafted Lawrence Timmons on the first round in 2007 and put him behind Foote. For two seasons, Foote held him off but he saw the handwriting on the wall - Timmons' time is now, and Foote is the one who would be squeezed out.

Foote asked the Steelers to trade or release him and after finding no takers in trade talks, the team apparently will cut him loose after this weekend's minicamp. They will save his 2009 salary of $2,885,000 less the amount of the player who replaces him on their roster. But they also are setting a precedent the Steelers do not normally set, and they will lose one of their most dependable players.

Foote has played strictly on early downs in his career and not on passing downs when they use one middle linebacker, James Farrior. However, last

season they used a nickel defense a lot in which Timmons replaced foot.

With his 29th birthday approaching in June and entering the last year of his contract, Foote believed he had to try to get out of Pittsburgh.

"It's nothing personal," said Foote. "James Farrior never slows down, and Timmons came in and I can't grow here anymore. They turned me into a two-down linebacker last year, I was stuck in a role.

"I love the team, I love winning, but you can't keep being unhappy. It got to the point where they were not giving me a chance."

The Steelers tried to trade him and might instead release him. That could open the door to others entering their final year of their contracts, now and in the future, to demand your release and the Steelers will comply.

Of course, it's also possible the Steelers needed Foote to take less in salary for this season -- or tried to extend his contract -- and he declined. Obviously, the Steelers cannot afford to have a backup making nearly $3 million.


Notes and Quotes
--Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes was arraigned Wednesday on a misdemeanor marijuana charge that occurred Oct. 23. Holmes' SUV was stopped in Pittsburgh because it resembled a vehicle police were seeking that allegedly was carrying a large supply of drugs. Holmes was nabbed with three marijuana cigars and issued a citation. His lawyer said he will challenge the constitutionality of the traffic stop.

--Rookie DL Ziggy Hood, the team's top draft pick, might have to explain himself to the NFL defensive player of the year at minicamp this weekend.

Citing his reaction to watching Super Bowl XLIII, Hood said, "I saw little James Harrison scoop up the ball before halftime and took it right down to the end zone."

--QB Ben Roethlisberger overcame his motorcycle accident in 2006. Long-snapper Jared Retkofsky did not -- it prompted the Steelers to release him. Retkofsky, who snapped for the Steelers last season after Greg Warren had ACL surgery, was released after a motorcycle accident caused him to have surgery on his right shoulder. The Steelers signed Pitt long-snapper Mark Estermyer to compete with Warren.

--The time of the Steelers' Sept. 27 game at Cincinnati was changed to 4:15 p.m. from 1 p.m.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was my doing. I wanted to go. They were trying to trade me." -- LB Larry Foote, who asked the Steelers to trade or release him.


Strategy and Personnel
Two rookie quarterbacks headed a list of 13 undrafted players the Steelers signed as free agents.

Kevin McCabe of California (Pa.) and Mike Reilly of Central Washington will join the three veteran QBs on the Steelers roster.

Other rookie free agents signed: Portland State LB Andy Schantz, Pitt long snapper Mark Estermyer, Tennessee OT Ramon Foster, Hillsdale ILB Tom Korte, Clemson WR Tyler Grisham, New Mexico State, S Derrick Richardson, WR Steven Black of Memphis, DT Jeff Bradley of Carolina, WR Cedrick Goodman of Georgia, DT Steve McLendon of Troy, and RB Isaac Redman of Bowie State.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: OT Max Starks: Tendered at $8.451M; signed tender Feb. 23.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--P Mitch Berger punted poorly and will not receive an offer because Daniel Sepulveda will return from injury.

--DE Orpheus Roye completed his 13th season by mainly being inactive on game day and he likely will not be re-signed.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered)

--TE Jon Dekker (not tendered as ERFA) was on injured reserve.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

--G Jeremy Parquet was a backup who played little.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--QB Charlie Batch: UFA; $895,000/1 yr, $50,000 SB.

--CB Fernando Bryant: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--OT Willie Colon: RFA; $2.198M/1 yr.

--FB Carey Davis: ERFA; terms unknown.

--OT Trai Essex: UFA; $1.94M/2 yrs, $500,000 SB.

--LB Keyaron Fox: UFA; $1.8M/2 yrs, $380,000 SB.

--LB Andre Frazier: UFA; $1.375M/2 yrs, $125,000 SB; 2009 cap: $687,500.

--LB Arnold Harrison: Not tendered as RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--OG Chris Kemoeatu: UFA; $20M/5 yrs, $3.885M SB/$6M guaranteed.

--CB Anthony Madison: RFA; $1.01M/1 yr.

--TE/FB Sean McHugh; RFA; (tendered at $1.01M with seventh-round pick as compensation); $2.57M/3 yrs, $390,000 SB.

--OT Max Starks: FFA; $8.451M/1 yr.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--RB Stefan Logan: FA CFL; terms unknown.

--CB Keiwan Ratliff: UFA Colts; terms unknown.

--WR Brandon Williams: FA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

--LB Mike Humpal (released/failed physical).

--QB Byron Leftwich: UFA Buccaneers; $7.5M/2 yrs; $3.5M RB 2010.

--CB Bryant McFadden: UFA Cardinals; $10M/2 yrs, $1M RB/$5M guaranteed.

--RB Gary Russell (released(.

--OG Kendall Simmons (released/failed physical).

--S Anthony Smith: Not tendered as RFA/Packers; $1.485M/2 yrs, $100,000 RB.

--OT Marvel Smith: UFA 49ers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

--WR Nate Washington: UFA Titans; terms unknown.