Daily mailbag: The Lions and Larry Foote

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Dean of Davenport voices the question the whole world is asking. (Or, at least a few Detroit fans).


What are the chances of the Lions going after ILB Larry Foote? They quasi-addressed the MLB position in the draft and I think adding a seasoned vet like Foote would allow DeAndre Levy to not have to be "thrown into the deep-end" at a position he hasn't really played.

First, it needs to be noted there are conflicting reports about Foote's availability. Foote, who grew up in Detroit and played at Michigan, has told multiple media outlets that he is a free agent and that playing for his hometown team is priority No. 1. But Foote hasn't technically been released yet, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and ESPN.com, and has merely been told that he will be let go at some point.

It's possible the Steelers are trying to create a trade market, but they probably missed their window over draft weekend. Most teams know the Steelers will release him if they can't trade him, and probably sooner rather than later.

When he finally is on the market, the Lions would be foolish not to fully investigate the possibility of bringing him in. They obviously aren't head-over-heels excited about Foote, or they could have acquired him during draft weekend. He started all 16 games last season for the Steelers but was going to lose his starting job to former first-round pick Lawrence Timmons. Foote has seven seasons of wear-and-tear on his body and probably is on the downside of his career.

That said, Foote would instantly be the best middle linebacker on the Lions' roster. Everything is relative, and the position is too important to experiment with. Much as the Lions hope to start veteran Daunte Culpepper at quarterback while No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford develops on the sideline, they should also seek a veteran like Foote to play middle linebacker rather than hope Levy can learn the position and excel immediately.

The Lions are building for the long-term, and there is nothing wrong with that. But there is also nothing more demoralizing than having opponents run the ball down your throat on a weekly basis. That's what happened to the Lions last season, and it's one thing they should endeavor to stop immediately in their new regime.