Ultimate Underdog: Thank You, Ramon Foster

Charles LeClaire - USA Sports Today

By: John Walker
SteelerNation.com

Reliable. Consistent. Leader. Grinder. Tough. Loyal.

These are just a handful of many words that one can use to describe now-former longtime Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman, Ramon Foster. After enjoying 11 seasons in the NFL with the black-n-gold, a true stalwart in Pittsburgh’s lineup and locker room, Foster decided to call it a career following the 2019 season. All the way from roster long shot, to the 2nd most starts in team history for an undrafted free agent, Foster’s storied Steelers career has certainly been a great one. And although Pittsburgh’s front office has worked diligently this off-season to find his replacement, there is no doubt the organization is going to surely miss their dependable “Big Ragu”.

On the field, Foster was the textbook definition of stability. After going undrafted out of the University of Tennessee in 2009, he spent his first three seasons fighting for roster spots and making spot starts (26 total) at both guard positions for the Steelers. Following one full season at right guard in 2012, the Steelers officially moved him over to the left guard spot in 2013 where he thrived for the next/final seven seasons of his career. Foster started 103 of a possible 112 games in that span, including an impressive stretch where he made 46 consecutive starts anchoring the interior left side of Pittsburgh’s offensive line. Despite never getting the Pro Bowl nod he deserved, Foster played at an elite level during those prime years and was a key member to the Steelers’ offensive success in that time.

Keeping Ben Roethlisberger upright was the top priority, and very few guards did a better job in pass protection than Ramon Foster did. In the best season of his career (2016), Pro Football Focus graded him out as the 4th best guard in pass protection with a grade of 89.7, and the 6th best guard overall with a grade of 87.1. Here is a breakdown of how many sacks he was responsible for from each individual season from 2013-2019:

2013: 2

2014: 2

2015: 6

2016: 0

2017: 2

2018: 1

2019: 4

Take note of that brilliant three-year stretch from 2016-2018 where Foster only allowed three sacks total. In that same three-year span, he was only responsible for four penalties as well. And while that is mightily impressive, it’s not necessarily surprising, however. Discipline and sound technique was another area Foster excelled in, and he was rarely tabbed as the reason for the yellow flag to end up in the field of play. Provided below are the number of times Foster was penalized over the course of the same 2013-2019 stretch as above:

2013: 2

2014: 3

2015: 4

2016: 1

2017: 0

2018: 3

2019: 2

Now that we’ve discussed what Ramon Foster brought to Pittsburgh on the field, it’s time to talk about what he brought to the Steelers behind closed doors. Foster was a guy that was highly respected amongst every member of the organization, and was widely looked at as one of the best leaders in the building. Through the ups, downs, dramas, and controversy, much like on field, everyone could always depend on Ramon Foster to help keep the team grounded and headed in the right direction. In fact he was thought so highly of that he was chosen to be the team’s representative for the NFL Players Association back in 2014. Through many different subjects over the years, Foster was a steady and respected voice of reason across the NFL at the Union meetings. But more importantly for the Steelers, that voice resonated even louder within their own locker room. His ability to pull the team together and keep focused, all while mentoring the young players on how to go about doing things the right way, never went unnoticed. So as you can imagine, when he announced his retirement, their was a large out pour of support from his teammates (current and former) that spread across social media.

“Appreciate all the knowledge big bruh continue doing Gods work” – Instagram/lavonhooks

“Gonna miss the battles w/ @RamonFoster You’ve have been a heck of a teammate! To see the father, husband and man that you are has been a joy. I know this ain’t the end of you’re great life story but wanted to say congratulations on your retirement” – Twitter/@Cam Heyward

“Forever Uncle mone! Thanks for everything” – Instagram/iambennysnelljr

“@RamonFoster these last 11 years have been a blast with you! Thank you for making football so much fun! Your passion as a football player, father and husband is something to behold. You are an inspiration to all of us. Love ya brother. #Steelers” – Twitter/@_BigBen7

“Great teammate and leader. Love ya Bruddah” – Instagram/t_alualu93

Those are just a few of many examples. From veteran players, young players, coaches, and all the way down to media members, everyone around Ramon Foster felt his positive impact. His ability to lead, persevere, teach, and mentor, all while playing at the highest of level is something that will be missed greatly by everyone in the organization. As fans, we truly long for players like 73.

On behalf of every proud member of Steeler Nation, the only thing we can say is thank you, Ramon Foster. Congratulations on an incredible career, and we all wish you the best of luck in everything your future brings you.

#SteelerNation

2 Comments

  1. Matt Sullivan

    May 30, 2020 at 1:15 am

    It’s good to see the spotlight illuminate an athlete who used his time with his teammates through the years so well. Foster is a great example of the impact and influence we can have on one another, and he certainly took the human part of his job seriously. Kudos to you, Ramon, for embodying that positive impact so many young men need to experience to grow to become the best men, husbands and fathers they can be. Thank you for being the best kind of influence. And thank you, John Walker, for giving us a small idea of what it must have been like for all those Stillers over the years who were blessed to call Ramon their teammate and friend. May we all follow Ramon’s example.

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