Foote has bad memories from Saints game

Every player has had that play, that game where it's their welcome to the NFL, the land of the big boys where come ready to play or look out.

For linebacker Larry Foote, it was game four in the 2002 season against the New Orleans Saints. He was a rookie, seeing extended playing time because of an injury to starting inside linebacker Kendrell Bell. And things didn't go well.

"That was my wake up call in the NFL," said Foote. "It was brutal. It challenged my confidence, my hope that I can play in the league. Everything was challenged that day. My teammates were brutal to me. It was vicious. It let me know this game is for men.

"I remember (Jason) Gildon and Deshea (Townsend), right in front of me like I wasn't there saying take him out of the game. People were saying I was sorry. It was just emotional. I gave up a long touchdown and Coach (Bill) Cowher took me out toward the end of the game."

The Steelers lost to the Saints, 32-29, and Deuce McAllister had a big day, rushing for 123 yards, including the 52-yard touchdown that Foote alluded to.

"It was tough, but at the end of the day they want you to go in there and perform," said Foote. "If you are a back-up, the standards around here don't change. It was tough but I went back to the lab. I knew physically I wasn't ready. It made me grow up and be a professional."

It was a game that taught Foote some valuable lessons, and he still uses it as motivation every time he goes on the field.

"It made my career," said Foote. "You don't want to let the team down. It made me sharpen up and let me know you can't afford to have a bad game in this league. You are messing with the team goals. I made sure ever since then I went into a game prepared and ready to play no matter what the circumstances.

"I still see that game whoever I play. I take that game as motivation. I don't want to be the guy singled out on film."

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