To be sure, Foote is fulfilling that role. He's coming off a nine-tackle game in which he recorded his first career sack. But Foote's newest responsibility is more important. He recently told Steelers Digest how he'd recently learned he was the father of an eight-year-old boy.
During training camp, Foote, 24, learned from a woman he'd known as a 14-year-old in Detroit, that the two had a child, Trey-veion.
According to Steelers Digest, Foote took a paternity test when the Steelers visited Detroit during the preseason. It confirmed that he was the father, so Foote assumed custody and moved Trey-veion to Pittsburgh with him.
"It's a little rough because he's old. He's eight years old," Foote said. "We're bumping heads a little bit but I'm blessed. I wish it didn't happen this way but I'm happy that he's with me."
Trey-veion attends school in Squirrel Hill while Foote practices on the South Side. He picks the boy up from his babysitter at 5 p.m.
"It changed my whole life around," said Foote, one of the more personable players on the team. "I'm at home at night. He comes first and I come second. I've got a lot of responsibilities, a lot of things, but I'm getting a lot of rest. I'm at home every night, so that's helping."
Foote said getting his son to do homework every night "is just a battle. He hasn't had a male influence in his life, lacked discipline, but he's adjusting."
His son has been to Heinz Field for both home games. He sits with Foote's fiancée, a TV news reporter in Detroit. Foote took the opportunity to campaign on her behalf with members of the Pittsburgh media.
"Any of you TV stations," he said, "she's a great reporter and her contract's up in October. We're trying to find a job here."
THE BIG DAWG
Alan Faneca strolled around the locker room in a Georgia Bulldogs baseball cap. He was the loser of a bet with former Bulldog Hines Ward after Georgia beat LSU, 45-16.
"He had to give me the Music City Bowl, though," Faneca said. "That doesn't show a whole lot of pride, giving me the Music City Bowl hat."
Bell and quarterback Tommy Maddox have been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. Also missing Wednesday's practice were fullback Dan Kreider (flu), center Jeff Hartings (knee) and running back Duce Staley (toe). All three are expected to play Sunday.
The Browns' injury list consists of linebackers Kevin Bentley (quadriceps) and Barry Gardner (groin), right tackle Ryan Tucker (quadriceps) and defensive tackle Gerard Warren (pectoral) as questionable, and left tackle Ross Verba (calf) as probable.
Bentley, Tucker and Warren missed Wednesday's practice.
Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia on the possibility of having to tackle Steelers safety Troy Polamalu:
"I don't want to have to do that. I saw where he made it especially hard on his former roommate and so with him not knowing me at all he probably would make it worse on me. No, I don't want to have to have that type of situation take place."
Notebook: Putting the Foote down
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