It remains somewhat a mystery why none of the 32 NFL teams saw fit to draft Tennessee's outstanding right tackle in 2009.

The Steelers were among those who snubbed him but they had the foresight to at least offer the Volunteers' three-year starter and offensive captain a contract after the draft. So did other teams.
His agent advised him to sign with the Steelers.

"Pittsburgh is the land of opportunity" Ramon Foster was told and did as he was advised.
He packed everything in his car and headed from Tennessee to Western Pennsylvania that summer confidently telling his girlfriend: "I'm not coming back until the bye week."

Four years later Foster arrived for a fifth time at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe last week only things are a little different now. His girlfriend became his wife they have two sons and Foster has a new job to call his own as the starting left guard.

Among all those draft picks from the first and second rounds the Steelers have packed into their starting offensive line Foster sticks out and not just because he wasn't drafted. At 27 he's the old man of the group at least two years older than any of them. He has played more NFL games than any of them and at 341 pounds he's bigger than any of the official weights at which the others are listed.

He also was never handed a starting job early in his career like those four high-round picks perhaps because he was not a high-round draft pick.

"I don't see how guys passed that up in the draft" three-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey said. "He's a great player. For him to come this far and be a known starter for the past two years is excellent. He deserves everything he gets."

Actually he probably did not deserve everything the Steelers gave him in past seasons -- they kept giving him the business trying to take his job away.

A starting job has never been his until now. Someone else always was ahead of him -- Chris Kemoeatu and Trai Essex in 2010 Doug Legursky in 2011 Willie Colon and David DeCastro in 2012.

All but DeCastro a first-round pick in 2012 have something in common -- they are no longer on the roster. It took five years 57 games and 42 starts (plus four in the postseason) for the Steelers to finally recognize what they had in Foster. They re-signed him as a free agent to a three-year $6.3 million contract shortly after free agency began in March.