Steelers part ways with unhappy Foote

The defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers put an end to one of the few distractions they've had this offseason. The team granted veteran linebacker Larry Foote his release after he wanted out of Pittsburgh because of a reduced role.

Foote, who did not attend last weekend's mandatory minicamp, started all 16 games for Pittsburgh last year but gradually had his playing time cut in favor of former first-round pick Lawrence Timmons. The Steelers also are close to the salary cap and get to save on Foote's $2.885 million salary, which factored into the decision.

"Larry has been a big part of our success, but unfortunately the realities of the salary cap made this decision inevitable," Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said in a statement. "We wish Larry and his family nothing but the best as he moves forward with his career."

Foote, 28, recorded 86 tackles and 1.5 sacks for Pittsburgh in 2008. He was a former fourth-round pick of the Steelers in 2002.

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com