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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Will the Steelers retain linbacker veteran Larry Foote?

By on 2/22/2014 11:00:00 AM

As free agency is looming and the NFL franchise tag period ends on March 3rd, many teams are in serious talks to finalize and figure out on who and who not to keep on their rosters for the upcoming 2014 season. One of the main fixtures is linebacker Larry Foote, a 13-year veteran from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Foote has been a staple for the Steelers, playing in a solid 158 games as their prime linebacker. The only year that he wandered away from Pittsburgh was in 2009. Steele asked for his release, and he subsequently signed a one year contract with the Detroit Lions in hopes of help his home team. He ending up playing 14 games for the Lions. Foote believed he would be a part of a defense that could help turn around the Lions' on-field misfortunes.  

Foote spoke about his regretful decision to leave Pittsburgh and head to the Lions: 
"I'm begging -- I want to get back to a winner," Foote said. "And I'm more comfortable in a 3-4 [defense]."
Obviously realizing he wasn't a perfect match for the Lions' 4-3 defense, Foote returned as an inside linebacker to the Steelers. He fortunately signed a three-year contract in 2010 after a disheartening season spent with Detroit. The deal included a $1.8 million signing bonus, a source told senior NFL writer John Clayton. 

The Steelers notoriously never bring back players once they have left the organization. "I didn't think it would happen, but I'm glad to be back," Foote said.

Jeffery Beall via Wikimedia Commons
Fast forward to the 2013 season, where Foote played only one game due to a devastating injury for Pittsburgh, ending his season campaign with eight combined tackles.  Unfortunately for Foote, he suffered a ruptured bicep in week one in a 16-9 loss versus the Tennessee Titans.  The next day after the ill-fated game, Foote was placed on the doomed season-ending injured reserve list, therefore ending his 2013 season almost before it began.

After returning to Pittsburgh in 2010, Foote signed a three-year contract worth $3.9 million with the Steelers on March 15, 2010.  With a solid 47 games under his belt between 2010 and 2012, the Steelers again re-signed Foote to a three-year contract on March 12, 2013.  

Despite his season-ending injury in 2013, it is tough to say if the Steelers will retain the 33-year-old linebacker from Michigan State.  Foote is signed for $1.5 million for the 2014 season, and rookie Vince Williams served as Foote's primary replacement last season as Foote nursed and healed his bicep.  

With solid play for the Steelers and the lone season with the Lions, Foote played a total 172 regular season games, and accumulated 720 combined tackles, 10 forced fumbles, and three interceptions in his total career stats in both Detroit and Pittsburgh. Considering the Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2005 and 2008, Foote already has two rings at the young age of 33.  

In the Steelers playoff run since his rookie year of 2002 which totaled 16 games, Steele was responsible for 61 combined tackles, and two interceptions.

If the Steelers part ways with Foote for this 2014 season, it's anyone guess if another NFL team would take the risk in picking him up. Standing at six-foot-one and weighing in at 239 pounds, this two-time Super Bowl champion linebacker could possibly still have some years left in him.  

You can follow me on Twitter: @alewnes7


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