There are a lot of coaching staff connections between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Buccaneers team consultant Bruce Arians used to serve as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator, as did Tampa Bay assistant coach Tom Moore. Harold Goodwin, who serves as the Bucs’ assistant head coach and run game coordinator, also spent time in Pittsburgh as an offensive line coach. Both Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and defensive coordinator Larry Foote spent time in Pittsburgh, with Foote spending 12 years with the Steelers. He talked about how his time in Pittsburgh prepared him for coaching and the importance of beating his former coach Mike Tomlin.
“I was raised right coming into this league. Everybody knows it’s a top organization. I was fortunate to go into a locker room with a lot of solid vets who showed me the way, showed me how to be a pro, on the field and off the field. I owe a lot of credit, a lot of my success goes to those guys and just that culture they taught me,” Foote said about entering the NFL with the Steelers during his press conference today via the Buccaneers’ YouTube channel.
“Bill Cowher, back in them days, you had to play the game the right way. That’s how I was raised and I’m still leaning on that type of mindset to this day.”
Foote entered the league as a fourth-round pick out of Michigan in 2002, and his rookie season featured guys like Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, Joey Porter, Jason Gildon, Lee Flowers, James Farrior and Chad Scott in the locker room. A lot of defensive veterans for Foote to lean on and learn from, and no doubt the locker room and the culture that Pittsburgh established helped Foote to a long and successful career as a player and now as a coach.
After Bill Cowher’s retirement, Foote played for Mike Tomlin from 2007-2013. He talked about needing to beat his former coach so he doesn’t end up on the wrong side of trash talk.
“I gotta beat him. Gotta beat him. Cause I know when we see each other, we gonna talk a little trash. I know how competitive he is. I keep telling my guys, trust me, he’s going to have these guys ready to play, and I got the utmost respect for him. But he’s one of those guys you gotta beat him, cause we gonna talk trash when we see each other.”
Tomlin hasn’t had a lot to talk trash about this year with the Steelers sitting at 1-4, but beating a former player would probably be worthy enough for Tomlin to talk a little bit, especially as they come into the game as underdogs. Foote knows Tomlin’s preparation as well as anyone, so it’s worth noting when he says that Tomlin will have them ready to play. After a 38-3 shellacking at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, the Steelers have to come out and at least give Tampa a fight, and Foote believes that Tomlin is going to do what’s necessary to get his guys ready to go.