For whatever mistaken reason, perhaps simply because he has never formally borne the title, Ramon Foster is not always looked at explicitly as a team leader for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The reality is that the only player who has been here longer is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and there’s no doubt that he has held a leadership role for a long time.
After all, he is the team’s NFLPA representative.
And according to Foster, he feels as though the locker room this offseason is as close as it has been since he has been here, which now spans over a decade. He culled an example from his own personal experience to explain why he thinks this is the case.
“I’ve said it time and time before just talking to guys this offseason – I don’t think I have talked to more guys on the other side of the ball than I have in my entire career”, he told Chris Adamski. “And that’s a really good thing. That means communication is there, understanding and there are guys who are genuinely caring about each other. And that’s a good thing”.
While teammates are teammates, of course, you tend to have closer bonds with the ones that you spend the most time working with. Offensive and defensive players don’t spend a lot of time working together, unless perhaps they work alongside one another on special teams.
Such strong relationships between offensive and defensive players tend to be more typical over time, when they are among the remaining players from an earlier locker room, the way Roethlisberger is close to somebody like Brett Keisel. So for Foster to say that he has reached out to the defensive side more than ever is not insignificant by any means.
This is far from the first time that the Steelers locker room has been brought together through outside adversity, of course. It tends to happen every few years, really, and it isn’t necessarily always because of some kind of outside drama. It could simply be because the outside world is doubting their ability to win. I think we saw that in 2010 after they missed the playoffs the year before.
Of course, this season in particular will be one marked by a crazy amount of controversy. I don’t know how else to describe a situation in which ha team that did not make the postseason was being discussed more than those who did make the postseason, while the postseason was actually going on.
How much of this newfound closeness is because of that outside adversity, and how much of is because Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are gone. I tend to be of the belief that both of them are factors here, and obviously are tied to one another as well.