Another day and now another Pittsburgh Steelers player has made his thoughts known on what he thinks about the comments made by an anonymous player to Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in regard to linebacker LaMarr Woodley being out of shape and awful last season.
This time it was fellow linebacker Larry Foote that was asked to chime in on 93.7 The Fan Tuesday morning. Foote was first asked what he thought when he heard the story.
“Well it was funny,” Foote said. “When I was at the gym yesterday everybody was accusing me of saying it, but it wasn\’t me. We just laughed about it. Just doing some brainstorming, I wouldn\’t be surprised if one of the coaches put that out there. I don\’t see nobody on the team saying that. Maybe somebody did it to motivate him. I saw the injuries that he had. He had a hamstring, you know you can blame it on conditioning or whatever, but he had an ankle injury – I seen when a guy fell on his ankle, so he just got bad luck last year.”
Foote, a Michigan native just like Woodley, later said that his teammate has always been a big guy.
“Woodley has always been a big guy,” Foote said. “I remember when he came out of Saginaw, you would say husky. He\’s just a big guy.”
Foote was asked if he disagreed with the comments made by safety Ryan Clark on Monday when he said the Steelers are not as close-nit of group as he thought if an anonymous player made those comments to Cook about Woodley.
“If a player did truly say that, yeah, that\’s something new,” exclaimed Foote. “Since I\’ve been with the Steelers, we don\’t do that. We don\’t play the stuff with the media. You look around the league and see teams taking shots at each other, we don\’t do that in Pittsburgh. That\’s the way it was before I got there and I\’ve just been following suit.
“So I would be very surprised if a guy really spoke that to one of the reporters and said that about Woodley. Even if you did feel that way, you should never discuss that with the media. That\’s just breaking down the foundation.”
Foote was later asked as far as seeing other players slacking if those kind of things are handled internally by him or other teammates.
“That\’s done all the time,” said Foote. “Its kept internally. Coaches will get on guys. Players will really get on them and I\’ve been on both sides of it when people have said this about me or I said this about other people. I mean there have been fights in the locker-room, there\’s been stuff on the airplane that never got out and that\’s the Steeler way.
“So I\’ll be very surprised if a player really did that and hopefully his name don\’t come up, or if he was, he\’s one of the players that\’s no longer here. I mean you\’re breaking the code when you do that. You\’re breaking the code.”
Foote was asked if he or some of the older players would address younger players if they observed them not getting after it or working hard.
“We mainly police the young guys,” said Foote. “It\’s pretty hard to go tell a guy like Brett Keisel or Troy Polamalu what to do. They\’ve been in this league and doing it. But young guys, we always get on them. Garrett Giemont (Steelers strength and conditioning coach ) does a great job of having those guys in the weight room, but if some guys come in there and start smelling themselves, and start acting like an older guy, we older guys don\’t like that and we jump on you right away. Some guys do it publicly, some just grab you to the side and tell you how it is. But for the most part the young guys listen, but every year your going to see young guys doing stuff that they shouldn\’t be doing because it\’s not their time yet.”
Foote said during the interview that he thinks that Woodley will bounce back next season. It is curious that he thinks a Steelers coach would put something like that out there, however.
All in all I think that Foote\’s responses were fine being as he is regarded as one of the primary leaders on the team. Keep in mind that he is also an unrestricted free agent this offseason and he currently does not know what his future holds right now even though his agent has had contract talks with the Steelers since the season ended. “[the Steelers] and my agent have been talking back and forth,” said Foote. “I guess it’s a money thing right now.” If he his not brought back the Steelers will have yet another team leader that will need to be replaced by a younger player on the roster. The Steelers have lost quit a few of them dating back to last offseason.