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News » Detroit Lions Inside Slant 2009-05-08


Detroit Lions Inside Slant 2009-05-08


Detroit Lions Inside Slant 2009-05-08
Larry Foote has heard the wisecracks.


He was a starting linebacker on two championship teams in Pittsburgh. But he asked to be traded a couple of weeks after the Super Bowl, and when the Steelers eventually released him, he signed almost immediately with the team that just suffered the NFL's first 0-16 season.

The thing is, that team was the Lions. Is he crazy?

"This is my hometown," said Foote, a Detroit native who also played at Michigan. "All along during my career, this idea was always in the back of my head: What would it be like to play for the Lions? This is a great opportunity, a fresh start in my career, new coaches. I'm just excited and just honored to be here."

This wasn't just about a homecoming. This was about opportunity. Foote felt his role was limited in Pittsburgh, with first-round pick Lawrence Timmons pushing for playing time, and he wants to prove his worth as a three-down linebacker so he can cash in next year.

"I'm going to be valued a little higher than I am right now," Foote said. "I'm looking forward to just having a one-year deal and showing the Lions organization what I can do."

The Lions have an opening at middle linebacker, and Foote is expected to start between Ernie Sims and Julian Peterson. But the Lions drafted DeAndre Levy with the idea of moving him from the outside to the inside, and they made no promises to Foote.

"The point we made with him is the same point we made with every player on the team," coach Jim Schwartz said. "When he does sign on that line, he's not signing as the starting middle linebacker. He's signing to compete for the starting job."

Foote thinks his play will take care of everything. He doesn't think adjusting from the Steelers' 3-4 defense to the Lions' 4-3 scheme will be too difficult, and he doesn't believe the Lions must rebuild.

The Lions have added a lot to a defense that ranked last in the NFL the past two seasons -- replacing more than half the starters -- and Foote thinks they can improve quickly.

"I always want to win," Foote said. "If you ask my friends and family, if I don't win, I get angry. I want to win by any means. You go to my house and you see holes in the wall right now from video games. I'm a competitor. I want to win. I didn't look at the record. I said, 'Shoot, I'm going to help them.' "



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 8, 2009

Michael Gaines Name: Michael Gaines
#86
Position: TE
Age: 28
Experience: 5 years
College: UCF
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