Sunday’s game will be a big one between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, without a doubt, and there is no shortage of reasons for that, starting simply with the fact that it will take place on Christmas Day. The Steelers have the opportunity of locking up the AFC North with a win, which would be a tremendous accomplishment.
The team as an organization also has the opportunity to secure their 600th victory in franchise history, as I wrote about earlier in the week. They would become the fourth franchise to do so, and the first franchise established later than 1925.
But this game will also have a special meaning for one player in particular, and that is veteran offensive lineman Ramon Foster. The eighth-year veteran is going to be making the 100th start of his NFL career, and that is a huge accomplishment for a former undrafted free agent such as himself.
You can probably bet that he is aware of this fact, as well, and of how far he has come since his rookie season in 2009 when he originally made the 53-man roster as a bit of an underdog the same year the Steelers drafted guard Kraig Urbik in the third round that year. In 2010, Foster made the roster and Urbik was released, because they liked Foster more.
It was just last season that Foster actually played in his 100th game, and, while I didn’t search his Twitter timeline, I do recall him pointing out that fact, so I certainly expect that he is aware of what this start means in terms of a huge career milestone. He comes into this game with 114 games under his belt, with 99 of them being starts.
Even though he started 30 games between the 2011 and 2012 seasons, it wasn’t until 2013, after he signed his first extension—and the Steelers chose to released Willie Colon—that he really became an unquestioned starter. He has played and starters all but five games since then, the games he has missed coming due to injury.
Foster has been nothing but an exemplary ambassador for exactly the type of person that the Steelers organization is happy to employ. Both on and off the field, he has represented the Steelers organization with class and dignity, with a blue-collar attitude and appreciation for the opportunity that he has to play the game, and to do good things for the community.
It is somehow fitting that Foster sat out two games this year with a recurring chest injury, with the domino effect of that injury resulting in his 100th start taking place in the biggest game of the year against the Steelers’ biggest rivals.
100 starts is an amazing landmark in his career, but it would be very unfortunate if it gets soured by a loss to the Ravens in a pivotal late-season game that would jeopardize their postseason chances. Perhaps that will give himself and his offensive line teammates even a bit more motivation to ensure that they play their best game for Foster’s 100th start.