I stopped Ramon Foster one day and asked him if he had a minute to talk about an upcoming game. He smiled and said 'Of course.' Foster not only gave me more than that minute I asked for, but he also offered insight, perspective and honesty.
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It didn't surprise me at all, because that is the type of person he is. And that is also the reason the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America selected Foster as this year's winner of "The Chief Award." The award was established in honor of Steelers' founder Arthur J. Rooney, Sr. and presented annually to the member of the Steelers' organization who best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation with the media that Rooney did.
"It's an honor," said Foster of winning the award named after Art Rooney Sr. "To be in the position where it is easy to talk to the media, and use it as a platform to say what you need to in a positive light means a lot."
Foster, in his seventh season with the Steelers, has become a member of the media himself in a way. He has written pieces for steelers.com this year, and also has a regular segment on 93.7 The Fan radio station in Pittsburgh. It's something he has said he would like to do after football, and is getting a start on it now and it's helped him understand how important talking to the media is.
Foster exemplifies what Art Rooney Sr. is about in more ways than just talking to the media, though. He takes pride in what he does, does it with class and respect for the game, and gives his full effort every time out. He is humble, not one to seek out an award or attention, but one who is always willing to stand up in victory or defeat.
"That is part of it," said Foster. "That is part of this business, being able to talk in the bad times and the good times. It's something you have to grow into doing and be accountable."
"The Chief Award" Winners:
|1988||Dan Rooney||2002||Hines Ward|
|1989||Dwayne Woodruff||2003||Mike Logan|
|1990||Merril Hoge||2004||Jerome Bettis|
|1991||Gerald Williams||2005||Alan Faneca|
|1992||Tunch Ilkin||2006||Brett Keisel/Deshea Townsend|
|1993||D.J. Johnson||2007||Alan Faneca|
|1994||Rod Woodson||2008||Ryan Clark|
|1995||Levon Kirkland||2009||James Farrior|
|1996||Chad Brown||2010||Ben Roethlisberger|
|1997||Darren Perry||2011||James Farrior|
|1998||Jerome Bettis||2012||Casey Hampton|
|1999||Lee Flowers||2013||Ike Taylor|
|2000||Jerome Bettis||2014||Cam Heyward|
|2001||Lee Flowers||2015||Ramon Foster|