Legends Series: Barry Foster
Barry Foster only played five seasons with the Steelers, but those five seasons were impactful.
The former running back was a bruiser, someone who thrived in the Steelers pounding ground game and had a breakout year in 1992 with 1,690 yards rushing.
Foster, who had to deal with injuries during his Steelers' days, enjoyed his time in the black and gold even if it was short.
*"I got drafted by them, because a lot of kids don't have that opportunity," said Foster. "I got drafted, I had an opportunity to play five years here. I didn't accomplish everything that I wanted or play as long as I wanted to, but none the less my dream came true. I was able to get drafted, I was able to play and contribute to victories for this organization. I don't have any other way to look at it but a positive way. So it's been a great experience in my life." *Foster also weighed in on a variety of other topics in this exclusive interview:
What was one of your best memories from your playing career with the Steelers?
"I got here in 1990. I got drafted in the 1990 class. Going to Latrobe for training camp for the first time, seeing the fans, the fields, all the coaches and all the guys I'm trying to compete against and make the team. That's probably the most memorable, just being out there for the first time fighting for a spot on the team."* Was it fun to be a power runner in the type of offense the Steelers ran?"It was always fun – it was what I was built for. I'm not a fast guy, I'm short and low to the ground. So it really enabled me to show what I was able to do, and that was being a power back."What are some plays you remember that stand out that define your career?"I had a run that I believe ultimately helped me make the team, and that was a scrimmage run against the Washington Redskins during training camp. We were getting very close to the end of that scrimmage. I got my number called. I got a handoff and I broke through the line. I ran over the safety from the Redskins and went 60 yards for a touchdown. Everybody was screaming in the stands. My teammates were screaming. That really made the team for me. Every day I went out there I just wanted to run somebody over."What was it like running behind Dermontti Dawson?"Dermontti has always been a very, very talented player. He's the only center I've ever seen in my football career that can pull from the center position and be the lead blocker for me. Dermontti is just an awesome guy, an awesome player, and that's why he's in the Hall of Fame."What was draft day like for you, getting drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers?*"My draft day experience was a little different. I actually got a call from the Cleveland Browns in 1990 telling me to stay by the phone because they were getting ready to draft me with their second round pick. In 1990 the Cleveland Browns didn't have a first round draft pick, so their first pick in the draft would have been me. They passed and picked the fullback from Michigan, Leroy Hoard. Then I dropped several rounds later and that's when Tom Donahoe called and said, 'Congratulations, you're a Pittsburgh Steeler.' But I almost got drafted by the Cleveland Browns."
What was that like, thinking you're going so early then having to wait?"It was difficult for me because I was a junior coming out in 1990. That's when all the juniors came out – you're talking about Emmitt Smith, Junior Seau, Andre Ware. The year before in 1989, Barry Sanders was the first junior allowed to turn pro. So the following year we all decided to go pro and then when the Cleveland Browns backed out of that phone call and they didn't draft me I immediately felt like I had made a mistake. Fortunately for me, Tom Donahoe and the Steelers gave me a call a few rounds later."
Did you play with a chip on your shoulder every time you played the Cleveland Browns?"Of course. That was one of the things I always took personal because I did sit on the phone with those guys, they did tell me to stay by the phone that they were going to draft me. So it was very disappointing that they didn't draft me. I'm glad that the Steelers did, but at the time in 1990 as a college kid, sitting in my dorm room, I was expecting to be a Cleveland Brown. So when I played them I tried to have one of my best games."Do any of those games against the Browns stand out in your mind?"One year, I'm not sure what year, we had to play the Browns three times. Two times in the regular season and then we had to play them in a playoff game. All three times I believe I was able to rush over 100 yards to help our team get a little bit further in the playoff situation. I loved playing in Cleveland at the original 'Dawg Pound,' but I always took it personally playing against them."Who had the biggest impact on your playing career?"I like to give credit to some of my coaches. Coach (Dick) Hoak did a great job of preparing me. But probably the biggest impact would be my brother Gerald. He spent 20 years in the Air Force and when we would get together he would just kind of help me map out how I could become better, how I could a better player, what I needed to do, what mindset. So probably the biggest impact person in my life was Gerald, my older brother."
What did it mean for you to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers?"Well it means everything now. I think it's the best organization out there. Obviously other players are going to be biased with their clubs, but like I said, I almost became a Cleveland Brown. I'm so thankful that I didn't. The Pittsburgh Steelers was the best team for me and my skillset, and I wouldn't change that experience for anything."
What was it like coming out into Three Rivers Stadium on game day with those fans going crazy and those Terrible Towels waving?"Well that was my introduction to the National Football League, Three Rivers. Coming here, getting ready, and interacting with the fans, that's all I knew. I know the Heinz Field experience is something different for the newer generation, but for me, Three Rivers was an awesome experience for me and I wish they would have kept the stadium."