Heading into the 2012 preseason, it was looking as if it was only a matter of time before then-rookie guard, and Pittsburgh Steelers first round draft pick, David DeCastro, would overtake Ramon Foster for the starting right guard spot on the offensive line. However, a serious knee injury suffered by DeCastro in the third preseason game against the Buffalo Bills meant that Foster was the unquestioned starter and he would go on to prove just how versatile he was as the season progressed.
Foster was rewarded this past off-season for his 2012 efforts, that included him playing both guard spots and even some right tackle, with a three-year contract and he is now slated to be the starting left guard in 2013. Despite his recent fortunes, however, the former undrafted free agent out of Tennessee is not complacent with where he is at and he let Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette know that he still has a chip on his shoulder.
“I\’d be a fool not to think that way,” said Foster, who started all 16 games and only missed snaps in the season opener against the Denver Broncos for the Steelers in 2012. “I tell the young guys, if it\’s me or you, I\’m going to step on your head to get the job done.”
Foster has been stepping on the heads of his competition ever since his rookie season and has been one of the Steelers most durable and consistent lineman that they have during that time. He told Fittipaldo that he knows better than to let his foot off of the gas right now as every year there are new players on the roster looking to force him off of it.
“I just know when you line up as a starter there\’s always someone coming at you,” Foster said, via the Fittipaldo report. “I have to perform at even higher level. You can\’t be complacent in this league. I know that. I come from being undrafted. It\’s never been an easy road, and I can\’t make myself believe it\’s going to be an easy road.”
Being as Foster was an undrafted free agent, he used Steelers safety Ryan Clark as an example of another undrafted free agent player that has managed to hang around the league for a long period of time. Clark was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Giants in 2002 and has been in the league ever since.
“I can\’t slack off,” Foster said. “A guy like Ryan Clark didn\’t make it 11 years now by slacking off. I talk to him a lot and a lot of other guys. You still have that chip on your shoulder.”
Despite opening the season as the starter at right guard last year, Foster was forced to start at left guard beginning in Week 15 after Willie Colon was lost for the season with a knee injury and DeCastro was able to return from his. In addition to that, Foster also showed that he could play the right tackle spot in a pinch after Kelvin Beachum was forced from the season finale against the Cleveland Browns with a concussion.
Last week, during the Steelers first OTA session of the 2013 season, it was revealed that Foster is further trying to expand his versatility as it was reported he received a little work at center in addition to his left guard spot. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is notorious for preaching about position flexibility and you can really tell that Foster has bought into that concept.
While Foster will never be mistaken as the Steelers most athletic offensive lineman, he still manages to get the job done and is as blue collar as they come. He always shows up to work with his lunch box and is not afraid to hit you with it either.
Last week Tomlin told the team that he wanted less talk and more work this off-season and that\’s something that he has always gotten out of Foster. That and a few stepped on heads.