Steelers guard Ramon Foster attended the NFL Sports Journalism & Communication Boot Camp, and came out of it wanting to do even more. Foster will be contributing to Steelers.com, providing guest stories and columns during the remainder of the offseason and during the 2015 season.
By Ramon Foster
We are officially back to football. And this time it's not just a marketing slogan you hear on television or the radio. We are actually back in the swing of things full force. We are one complete week into the season now, with week two now facing us. For the most part, rosters have been set and there has been joy and heartbreak to deal with already.
Joy and heartbreak could sum up the emotion of many of NFL teams, and also for players who battled to make those week one rosters, the dream chasers who were cut before the 53 man roster was finally set. Dream chasers is a great way to describe that group of guys who didn't make the roster. I assure you, those guys are still busting their behinds training and conditioning, still hoping for that phone call, hoping they did enough to be remembered if someone goes down. It's happened before and will continue to happen for ages to come. Seeing those guys get released after growing a bond with them over time is never easy and I never take it lightly. Some of those guys become fan favorites and you have the guys you secretly root for and hope they make the team. For whatever reason, the chips just don't fall their way. I always search for a handful of guys to see if they get claimed off waiver wires or get signed to practice squads. The dream never changes; everyone chases the hope to crack that opening day 53-man squad.
You have to love this process of making roster. It's always a battle, and there is joy and heartbreak throughout the NFL season. I recently heard a teammate of mine ask a coach, "Were you disappointed that football continued after you were done playing?" That question struck me like a lightning bolt. It struck me that way because after playing so long, I think we as players hope that our time, energy, sacrifices and blood that we have given to the game will be preserved and wrapped in a bundle to have forever. That normally doesn't happen. Take Brett Keisel, one of the most impactful players in recent Steelers history and there's a new young guy wearing the No. 99 already. For me, I thought football stopped for him after he left the game. It hasn't, someone is in his old locker and his football time has passed on the gridiron. His impact on the game will always be felt, but the game keeps on pushing forward.
It's the same for fans when it's time to replace those legendary players. We tend to lean on the past accomplishments of the ones who had your hearts for years and show resistance to move on from those players. As those new young players move into their roles, give them a fair chance to state their case. Rome wasn't built in a day. There will be some growing pains and I'm sure the ones we all consider legends went through some heartache and uncertainty as they found their niche. Those young guys are still in the top 1.2% of all football players in the world.
As we get back to football, remember this is a long journey. The spoils go to the ones who enjoy the marathon and learn from joys and heartbreaks of a NFL season. The 1972 Dolphins were the last to go undefeated in the modern era and it's a gargantuan size challenge to walk in those shoes again. Right now in the NFL half the teams are perfect and the other half have one loss.
As a player, and also a fan of the game, it's very exciting to see us get back to football and watch the team grow over the year and seek that "Sticky Lombardi." I love this time of the year and absolutely embed myself in all the weekly challenges that come along with playing this sport we all have grown to love. The injuries, social challenges, the matchups, us versus them, it's all part of the game and that's what makes it so special. We are in this for the long haul and will continue to stack wins as we go and push for that opportunity to represent our conference in Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco. That's always our goal, not just the playoffs and that's what makes playing for the Steelers so special.
See you all at Heinz field or whatever stadium we decide to make our own at the road games. Here We Go.