Larry Foote: Detroit Through and Through

PJ PointerCorrespondent IMay 12, 2009

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 22: Larry Foote #50 of the Pittsburgh Steelers jogs on the field during the game against the Atlanta Falcons on October 22, 2006 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Good things come to those who wait.

After over 50 years of perseverance, fans of the Detroit Lions must be in store for multiple Super Bowl championships. After all, who has waited more?

The Lions’ fans have watched an expansion team, the Carolina Panthers, make it to the Super Bowl before them. They have watched the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers win a Super Bowl, all while waiting.

One such fan is Larry Foote.

Foote grew up a rabid Lions fan. He watched every game he could while growing up in Detroit. His dream, to play for his home town team.

After standing out at Detroit’s Pershing High School Foote was offered a scholarship, which he accepted, to the University of Michigan. He played linebacker for the Maze and Blue for four years, all the while hoping for the opportunity to one day don the Honolulu Blue and Silver.

The Lions didn’t draft him in 2002 though. Instead they passed on him to take the immortal John Taylor...wait! Who? John Taylor was an undersized project defensive end from Montana State who didn’t even make it out of training camp.

Foote was eventually drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers and became a full-time starter for them in 2004. However, Foote never lost his passion for his home town. Spending his offseasons at home in Detroit, or working out at his alma matter Michigan.

After a five-year run as the starting middle linebacker for the Steelers, a run that included two Super Bowl rings, Foote was cut lose in a cost saving move by the Steelers.

From the moment that it was rumored that he would be released Foote said that the Lions, his home town team that he had spent so many years rooting for, were his first choice to sign with.

Mind you, it’s not as if other teams didn’t come calling. The Arizona Cardinals, fresh off of their loss to Foote’s Steelers in the Super Bowl, were interested, as were the Indianapolis Colts.

What, you might ask, would make Foote want to become a Lion? Why pass up an opportunity to play for proven winners to come and play for the first team in NFL history to go 0-16? Simply put...Larry Foote loves Detroit. He loves everything about it: its people, its neighborhoods, and yes, even its football team.

At a time when the Detroit area is reeling. When people nationwide are once again turning on the Detroit area, and crying that we’re a region full of selfish overpaid autoworkers, ignoring the fact that the economic trouble that the auto companies find themselves in is due more to the credit crunch and health insurance problems in this country.

Larry Foote, a world champion, looks at his home town and says “this is a wonderful place to live.”

When most players are planning which warm weather city to retire too, Foote is saying that he will stay in his home town past the age of retirement. Yep, that’s right, he’s going to stay in Detroit, even with all of the crazy Michigan weather.

But, you may ask, does Foote have anything left in the tank as a football player? Or is this just his swan’s song?

Just ask him. Not only does he think he hasn’t reached his full potential yet, he thinks that the Lions are not the five year turnaround that people around here and the NFL seem to think.

Foote believes in this team like he believes in this city. And his journey to get here, long as it may have been, will only make him and this team better.