2013 marked another solid yet quiet season for veteran offensive guard Ramon Foster.
Although he may never reach the type of heights as his promising guard-mate David DeCastro, Foster was nevertheless a rock at left guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers in his first full season as a starter at the position.
The fact that Foster put up arguably the best and most consistent season of his career this fall comes as no shock to me. The most veteran member of Pittsburgh’s young offensive line, Foster stated the following about his role in a recent article by Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com:
Same old game, I just try to stay consistent, be the glue to this group and keep everybody sane.
At least to me, Foster has been a fantastic ‘glue guy’ for the Steelers since he entered the league in 2009 as an undrafted free agent (UDFA). An offensive tackle at the University of Tennessee, Foster earned a spot as a backup offensive guard on Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster after the preseason in spite of the fact that Kraig Urbik was selected in the third round of that April’s draft.
To his credit, Foster proved to be a reliable stop-gap for the Steelers in the early stages of his professional career. Due to injuries sustained by guys like Chris Kemoeatu, Trai Essex and Doug Legursky, Foster managed to start a combined 26 games during his first three seasons at both left and right guard.
A valuable role player for Pittsburgh in the trenches, it appeared as if Foster would be relegated to backup duty in 2012 until DeCastro sustained a knee injury during the preseason.
Like a true professional, the former Volunteer manned DeCastro’s starting right guard spot for the first 13 games of the 2012 campaign. When DeCastro returned to the lineup, Foster started Pittsburgh’s final three games at left guard in place of the injured Willie Colon and filled in at right tackle during the team’s regular season finale.
Foster represents a fantastic leader for the Steelers’ younger offensive linemen to look up to and have at their disposal. For guys like Beachum, Foster is an overlooked success story who fought the odds and higher round draft picks to become a full-time starter at the professional level. For guys like DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert, Foster is the veteran member of the line who they can turn to . Finally, the soon-to-be sixth-year veteran represents a reminder that an opportunity to contribute is only one play away for someone who lost their starting job like Mike Adams.
How healthy Pittsburgh’s offensive line can stay next fall after a disastrous half decade of injuries at multiple positions still looms as a large question. The fact that the Steelers have someone like Foster at their disposal to lead the young unit regardless of what transpires will continue to be an enormous positive for the rebuilding franchise.
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