Former Vol Foster likes Steelers' stability, history
Says style of play fits his game
By Dave Hooker (Contact)
Originally published 09:05 p.m., April 29, 2009
Updated 09:05 p.m., April 29, 2009
Ramon Foster woke up at 8:30 Sunday morning.
The former Tennessee offensive lineman was stoked to hear his name called during the final day of the NFL draft.
Five rounds came and went; Foster's name wasn't called.
"It's almost as if you're working out because you're heart is beating, beating, beating so fast the entire day," the 6-foot-5, 328-pounder said on the News Sentinel's radio show, The Sports Page.
The nervousness turned into all-out anticipation when teams interested in signing Foster as a free agent started calling late in the fifth round.
Approximately 13 teams called, including the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers. One team, however, stood out.
Foster signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers just as the final pick of the draft was being made. Foster sees opportunity on Pittsburgh's offensive line.
"They have some older guys on their roster right now and they also have like four or five guys that are in the last year of their contract," Foster said. "It's a great opportunity for me to go there and get on the roster, potentially play and start there."
Foster said he also appreciates the Steelers' stability and history of cultivating young players into starters.
"That's another thing that swayed me toward them," Foster said. "Last year they had 16 free agents. Two or three played in the Super Bowl. They're a very free-agent friendly team."
Foster was won over when Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin called him on Sunday.
"He was very excited to have me," Foster said. "He said he didn't think he would get me in this situation or get me at all because he thought I was a pretty good player.
"I'm the style of offensive lineman that their offensive line is, the bigger type of lineman - that's a brawler. They stick to the run game and that's one of my high points."
Foster said he sees plenty of similarities between his old team and the new, particularly the passionate fans.
Foster said UT fans should be happy with the recent changes to the Vols.
"I definitely see them going up," Foster said. "Just seeing the spring game and some of their practices, I think the coaching staff and the players have a good head start on this upcoming season."
Foster said he's not sure if he'll play guard or tackle for Pittsburgh, but likely will begin his pro career at tackle. Foster played both positions for UT. That versatility could help him land an all-important roster spot in the NFL.
Whatever Foster plays, he just hopes he's not asked to flip sides on the offensive line as he did under former offensive coordinator Dave Clawson last season.
"As far as that strong/weakside stuff," Foster said, "I wouldn't venture that I would ever see that again."