It happens at the end of every NFL season, but offensive lineman Ramon Foster admitted that it’s still odd to look around the locker room after the final game and think about how many faces will be back in August.
This year, after the Steelers’ 23-16 AFC divisional playoff loss Sunday to the Denver Broncos, Foster was one of those guys.
Foster, an unrestricted free agent, said Monday he doesn’t know whether or not he’ll be back and declined to comment too strongly either way.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen, man,” he said. “The business part is going to take care of itself. It’ll be interesting. I honestly can’t even say a lot because this will be one interesting offseason right here.”
Foster came to the Steelers in 2009 as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee, but has developed into one of the cornerstones of their offensive line at guard. He noted that three more seasons would give him 10 with the Steelers, but admitted that it isn’t totally his decision whether or not he gets there.
“That’s upper management, [general manager] Kevin Colbert and them, whatever direction they decide to go in,” Foster said. “My job is to stay healthy, stay out of trouble. Don’t end up getting tased on South Beach, that type of stuff.”
Cornerback William Gay, another unrestricted free agent, also was noncommittal about his offseason hopes or expectations.
“No one knows about the offseason,” Gay said. “Do I want to be here? Yes. Do I know? Nah. Only the owners, Kevin Colbert, Mike [Tomlin] know.”
As a player who was drafted by the Steelers, left for one season and then returned, Gay has a special appreciation for what it means to play for the franchise.
“This is the team that believed in me coming out of Louisville,” Gay said. “There’s a lot of heart here, but like I said, we don’t know the business. All I do is prepare for the present. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”
Toussaint backed up
Even though Fitzgerald Toussaint’s fourth-quarter fumble was a key turning point Sunday in the loss, his teammates who spoke Monday did not place blame on the second-year running back.
“I just went up, gave him a hug after the game, told him I was proud of him,” center Cody Wallace said. “He stepped in, did a great job for us the past couple of weeks. We all have our mistakes in the game. It’s never on one person. He ran hard and did what we asked him to do.”
Defensive end Cam Heyward pointed out that, without Toussaint’s contributions in the regular-season finale against Cleveland and the wild-card playoff game against Cincinnati, the Steelers might not have even made the divisional round.
“Everybody has their crappy moments,” Heyward said. “For someone to say they’ve never had a crappy moment, that means they never competed.
“It’s how you bounce back, how you grow. I hope he only learns.”
The game was the highest-rated Sunday AFC divisional playoff game in 21 years, and the highest-rated game of this season, according to CBS.
The game tied the 2011 game between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots as the highest-rated game since a 1995 divisional contest between the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers on NBC. The Steelers/Broncos rating was a 3 percent increase from one in the same window a year ago between the Broncos and Indianapolis Colts.
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @SWernerPG.
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