It hasn't happened yet in training camp but Larry Foote suspects it's only a matter of time.

At some point when his helmet is off someone will mistake him for James Farrior even though the former inside linebacker has been retired for more than a year.

"This is the first year I didn't get called James" Foote said. "Last year fans were calling me James. I still get it around town in Pittsburgh. He gets it sometimes too they call him Larry. One time I got it in [my hometown] Detroit. That's tough."

Foote said the case of mistaken identity is because he and his friend and former position mate have the same skin tone forehead and hairline. But as he enters his 12th NFL season -- all but one with the Steelers -- Foote shares another quality with Farrior that distinguishes them from just about every other linebacker in team history:


Foote has appeared in 157 regular-season games with the Steelers third most among linebackers in team history. He passed Farrior (154) for third place in 2012 and will tie Jason Gildon (158) for second when he starts the season opener Sept. 8 against the Tennessee Titans.

If he stays healthy and plays all 16 games which he has done eight times in his career Foote will inch closer to the team's all-time leader among linebackers David Little who appeared in 179 games with the Steelers from 1981-92.

Foote signed a three-year contract in the offseason so it is conceivable he could pass Little in 2014 -- a notion that is not far-fetched given Foote's dependability and resiliency.

"Last year when they turned [Farrior's starting spot] over to me they wanted to see how I responded" Foote said. "And off my play they wanted me three more years.

"When you get toward the end and you see it coming that alone just drives you. I made enough money had enough success. I don't want to hang them up just yet. That's what motivates me in the morning."
The Steelers wanted to re-sign Foote who was an unrestricted free agent because they were thin at inside linebacker. They thought they drafted his replacement Sean Spence in the third round in 2012 but Spence sustained a severe knee injury and damage to his peroneal nerve in the preseason and it is not known if he will be able to play again.

But Foote who turned 33 in June is still here. He left once after the 2008 Super Bowl season to sign a big free-agent contact with the Detroit Lions. But after a 1-15 season Foote had enough of losing and re-signed with the Steelers in 2010 to be Lawrence Timmons' backup.