Unsung Steeler: Larry Foote

The dudes over at Bloguin’s With Malice have a great thing going today. They’ve dubbed April 5th “Unsung Player Day.

Yup, I’m declaring April 5th ‘Unsung Player Day’… we should recognize the guys who toil and work hard every day, for no recognition. Well, today’s your day. In reality, these guys are just as responsible for making the NBA what it is today – every team needs role-players, guys to come on and give that valuable 2-5 minutes. Without them, there is no NBA. I would encourage NBA bloggers to put up an ‘unsung player’ on their blog on April 5th.

What’s an ‘Unsung Player’?  A role player who gives his all in the 2-5 minutes he gets per game (try to be definitely under 10 minutes). Someone who doesn’t get a lot of recognition…

The recognition is mainly for NBA ballers, but we decided to join in the fun. So who on the Steelers is considered an unsung player?

A few positions immediately came to mind: fullbacks, lineman, special teamers. Those guys are vital to any football team and rarely see headlines. But we decided to go in a different direction with our selection…

When I think of an unsung player, I can’t help but think of LB Larry Foote. It might be a weird selection because no position is more beloved by Steeler fans than linebacker.

But it’s always Foote’s teammates that you hear about, not #50.

Larry FooteHere’s a few reasons why Larry Foote is an unsung player on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1. There’s a reason why Lawrence Timmons didn’t start. And that reason is Foote. Timmons’ playing time increased a lot this year, but he never overtook Foote. It was supposed to happen during Timmons rookie year, then it was all but guaranteed after Timmons had a year in the system. But it never happened. I’m not saying that Timmons won’t be a better player when it’s all said and done, but he was a freak out there this season and you know Mike Tomlin is playing his best 11 guys every snap.

2. He’s durable. Unsung players – the grinders – they go out there and go to work every game and do their thing. Larry Foote has only missed two games during his career. He has played in every game that the Steelers have played since 2003. Quick, name somebody else who has accomplished that.

3. He’s leaving after this season. It’s already been decided by all accounts. Timmons will be ready to step in and there’s no real reason for Foote to resign with the Steelers as a backup. A few years down the road, nobody will remember Larry Foote. He hasn’t had spectacular numbers by any stretch, but he’s one of those core guys in both of the Steelers recent Super Bowl teams. Everybody will surely remember Bettis, Roethlisberger, Ward, and Polamalu, but guys like Foote were a very key part of those championships.

In the end, Larry Foote fits the definition of an unsung player perfectly. He’s been a very important piece of the puzzle for Pittsburgh during his whole career. His teammates put up monster sack numbers from the linebacker position, but that’s only possible because Foote is blanketing the checkdown receiver downfield. He’s not the greatest athlete, but this is a guy who knows his role and his played it flawlessly during his career.

Today, April 5th, is all about Larry Foote.

Give us your nominations for the unsung player on the Pittsburgh Steelers.