Larry Foote wants out of Pittsburgh, and the Steelers are trying to trade him.
But that does not necessarily mean he will not be wearing the Black and Gold next season.
Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette reported on both Tuesday and Wednesday of this week that the Steelers tried to trade Foote during the draft and then planned to cut him on Monday after that failed. But, he continues, the Steelers changed their minds and had resumed attempts to trade him, but were planning on cutting him after the team’s annual Mother’s Day Mini Camp.
Scott Brown of the Tribune-Review has reported much of the same. Namely, that while Foote holds no ill will against the Steelers, he wants out. But Brown’s sources have led him to a different interpretation of the story.
Brown reports that Foote assumed that he had been cut when reporters called him asking him how he felt about it. Foote apparently knew that this was a possibility, but he had gotten no official word. Brown reports that this prompted Foote to call Steelers Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert to clear up the matter. It is at this point that Brown’s story gets interesting:
Foote said Colbert told him that the Steelers are trying to trade the eighth-year veteran, but that they have not committed to releasing him if a deal with another team cannot be worked out. When asked if he expects to be released if he is not traded, Foote said, “That’s the question I posed, and (Colbert) said that’s up to (coach) Mike Tomlin. He said he doesn’t know.”
A Relic Leftover from the Days of the Circulation Wars?
I suppose in the heyday of two-paper towns, this kind of thing was more common – two beat writers covering the same story, but arriving at very different results.
It is hard to know who to trust.
Ed Bouchette is the dean of the Steelers press corps. He gets the goods, has got good sources, and knows the lay of the land.
Scott Brown has been on the beat for a lot less time, but he hustles for the story, and has frequently delivered his readers more as a result. The contrast in the coverage which both men gave to the announcement that John Stallworth was joining the Steelers ownership group provides a perfect example. Brown not only got interviews with Stallworth’s former teammates, but with the Rooney’s, and with Stallworth himself.
It is not clear here whether experience or ambition has the upper hand on delivering the correct story.
Either way the Steelers have an interesting situation playing out. Mike Tomlin has said on record that he wants Larry Foote back. Foote, for all of his talk about holding no grudges, has said he will skip the Steelers mandatory mini-camp. Larry Foote told Brown “At this point, I’ll go to whoever wants me and get a chance to show what I can really do.” Not much different than what he told Bouchette.
However, earlier in Brown’s story, he made some comments that indicated that he felt he was being limited by the Steelers before Timmons arrived, a remark which one can only describe as surprising, since Foote has started every game since 2004.*
As the contrast between Bouchette and Brown’s stories reveal, the Steelers’ plans have yet to come in focus, but Foote does not sound like a man who is expecting to stick around.
*Even before learning this, Steel Curtain Rising wrote an article cautioning Foote to choose his wish wisely. Now we’ll double down on that advice.