In modern professional sports, it’s far from uncommon for athletes to force their team’s management to release or trade them. Often, these disgruntled athletes are either buried on the depth chart/rotation/bench, or they have been stuck playing for perennial losers and want a chance to win a few games. Like it or not, it usually works, often to the benefit of both team and player.
What you don’t usually hear about, however, is a perennial starter asking for his release from a perennial winner, let alone a six-time Super Bowl winner. But that’s exactly what Steelers linebacker Larry Foote has done, just months after being the starting (and winning) middle linebacker in Super Bowl XLIII. And if that’s not a big enough twist for you, get this - he wants to play for the Lions. Yes, those Lions. Huh?
Foote’s issues with the Steelers started in 2007, when the team drafted linebacker Lawrence Timmons in the first round. Ever since then, Foote has felt that Timmons was being groomed to eventually take over the position. He’s probably right, but rather than rise to the competition, he’s throwing in the towel, according to the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE:
“It’s nothing personal,” said Foote, who turns 29 on June 12. “James Farrior never slows down, and Timmons came in and I can’t grow here any more. They turned me into a two-down linebacker last year. I was stuck in a role.“I love the team, I love winning, but you can’t keep being unhappy. It got to the point where they were not giving me a chance.”
Sure, Detroit is Foote’s hometown, so that’s a factor in his desire to play for the perennial losers. But to claim that the Steelers were not giving him a chance? The dude has started every single game for the Steelers at inside linebacker since 2004. It sounds more like someone just wants to take his ball and go home. For a player without the desire to compete, perhaps Detroit’s the perfect city for him after all.