Former Steelers RBs ready to meet the fans

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Two former Steelers running backs will be at Heinz Field on Sunday when the Steelers take on the Broncos to show their love and appreciation for Steelers fans.

Willie Parker and Barry Foster will be participating in activities as a part of the team's 'Thank You Fans' game, something that is going to be just as enjoyable for them as the fans.

Thank you, Steelers Nation, for a great 2015 Training Camp.

"The fans means everything," said Parker, who will be participating in a meet and greet with a group of pre-selected Steelers Nation Unite winners. "They are what get you ready for every game. When you have a critical moment in a game, they get you out of that moment. It's always good to give back to the fans and show you care about them. They mean just as much to the game as the team and players. They are a part of it, a significant part of it.

"It's very meaningful to do this. I can be anywhere and a Steelers fan comes up to me and I stop what I am doing and have a conversation with them. That is what it's all about, family. I tell them I appreciated all of the cheers I heard from them. It means a lot."

Parker said now that he is retired, he too is a Steelers fan and understands what they excitement is all about.

"The fans, they make a player," said Parker. "They make you want to go out there and play. To go back and be a part of the fan base, I am one of them. I am a fan now. I see what they saw. It means a lot to be a part of it, to be a part of Steelers Nation, such a great franchise. I am a part of Steelers Nation."

Foster is the first to admit that he didn't have a lot of interaction with the fans when he was a player, being a little more guarded in that area. But looking back, he has a great appreciation for them.

"When I was a player with the Steelers I didn't interact as much as I should have with the fans," said Foster. "I didn't understand and take on that responsibility. I didn't see how important the fans are until I retired from the game."

Foster is well aware of what the fans mean, and he will be greeting them before the game in the Ford Fan Zone from 2:30-3:30 p.m., something he is looking forward to.

"The fans are what make the game," said Foster. "You can't have the success we have as players without the fans. "Living in Dallas, in Cowboys country, when I get out and about and meet fans and we start talking and they say 'Barry Bananas,' I appreciate that. Fans have a choice of who they want to cheer for, and I really appreciate that.

"I am looking forward to it and know I will enjoy it. Whenever I get the chance to be around the game of football I still get excited. I get more excited when I get the chance to watch the Steelers play. This is even more special because I will have my son Barry, who is 21, so it will be our first chance to watch a Steelers game in Pittsburgh together since he was about 8 or 9 years old."

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