Larry Foote finished his career in Arizona, where he played in 2014, and is now an assistant coach with the Cardinals. But he spent the vast majority of his career in Pittsburgh, where he played from 2002-08 and again from 2010-13.
Well, it’s a good thing the Cardinals have a bye this week. Foote will be in front of a television Saturday night watching the Steelers play the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium – and he’s already amped up.
That’s because Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict has talked openly of his hate for the Steelers and was accused of celebrating Le’Veon Bell’s knee injury during a game against Pittsburgh in November.
“Oh, man, I got my popcorn ready,” Foote said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I can’t wait for tomorrow night. All the old guys, we’ve been texting each other. Can’t wait for Saturday. You know it’s 10 years to this weekend when we went up there and played them when Carson (Palmer) got hurt. Our game don’t compare. Remember T.J. Houshmandzadeh wiped his feet with the towel in our tunnel? We were just furious, couldn’t wait to get up there. But this game, it’s 10 times that. I’m excited. Hopefully the Steelers go up there and handle their business.”
Foote was asked if the Steelers hate the Bengals in return.
“Oh yeah, we hate them,” Foote said. “Them guys going to be motivated. I’ve been getting the inside scoop with stuff going on on the sideline in that last game. I’ve seen the Pacman Jones comments. It’s going to be a blood bath.”
Jones defended Burfict before the Bengals’ December rematch with the Steelers, telling them to “shut the (bleep) up and play football.”
The Steelers did just that, beating the Bengals, 33-20, in Cincinnati in a game in which Andy Dalton broke his thumb.
Foote said that players on both sides will need to keep their emotions in check Saturday, especially with a spot in the divisional playoffs on the line.
“Well in the pregame, you’re not going to back down,” Foote said. “There’s probably going to be staring contests, some four-letter words are going to be flying around. Hopefully we don’t have the microphones too close to the field. After the first couple series, quarter, then it’s time to play football.”
In other words, don’t pull an Odell Beckham Jr.
“I understand early in the game some pushing and shoving,” Foote said, “but then you got to get in the saddle and you got to play some football.”
Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. ET on CBS.