Larry Foote grateful for run with Steelers

PITTSBURGH -- Larry Foote, a Michigan man through and through, is well aware the Steelers gave his No. 50 to rookie Ryan Shazier.

And that the Steelers’ first-round pick played his college ball at Ohio State.

“I didn’t like that Buckeye getting my number,” Foote said. “I was fired up.”

He was only half joking since the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is serious business, especially for those who took part in the annual gridiron feuds.

But Foote had little else to quibble about with the Steelers even though they released him in March when the seasoned veteran would not have counted much against the salary cap.

“I’m happy with the run I had there,” said Foote, who played inside linebacker for the Steelers from 2002-08 and 2010-13. “I was so fortunate. A lot of our core guys through those two championships we stayed together over a decade. It ran its course. I got two Super Bowls and Pittsburgh will always be my home. I’ll always be connected to the city.”

Foote, who signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals shortly after the Steelers released him, will be missed and remembered fondly.

One of the most popular players in the Steelers’ locker room, he also proved to be a productive and steadying force on a defense for which he started eight-plus seasons.

Not bad for a fourth-round draft pick.

Foote has embraced his new opportunity in Arizona, where he also will play in a 3-4 defense. And he had nothing but good things to say about Shazier, who has the inside track to start at Foote’s old position.

“I always get my Mel Kiper on around draft days and it looks like he’s going to be an excellent player,” Foote said. “I joked with the coaches, ‘Y’all got rid of the old [car] for a new Ferrari.’ He’s surrounded by some good coaches so I think he’ll be a good one. If he can get it upstairs and have that toughness I’m quite sure he’s going to be a player in this league for a long time.”