Steelers linebacker Larry Foote is creating several new euphemisms branching off the classic sports cliche "sense of urgency."
His object of choice? The Panic Button.
A time-honored symbol usually used to describe what teams are not doing, Foote is possibly the first athlete to ever admit flirtation of pressing the fabled button indicating a team is losing control.
Perhaps it's what the Steelers need, sitting at 2-3 and facing a must-win game at Cincinnati - their first in the AFC North.
According to Alan Robinson of the Tribune-Review, Foote said "I'm quite sure the coach (Mike Tomlin) isn't using ‘panic' but I'm using ‘panic,' " Foote said. "I'm going panic in my play. ... We can't lose any more. Five, six losses, you might not be in the playoffs. The panic button, we're tapping on it. We don't have two hands on it, but we're kind of nibbling on it."
So Tomlin isn't saying "panic," but the Steelers are tapping on it without the use of two hands, and they're nibbling on it.
I have no clue what it means to "panic in his play," but if it works for Foote, it works for me. If the Steelers haven't panicked yet, having lost four consecutive road games dating back to the 2011 season, maybe changing that up is a good idea.
What Foote is saying shouldn't be taken literally, of course. The team's overall performance on the road certainly needs to improve, but it's not as if the door has closed. After six weeks in which every team in the AFC has played at least five games, no one is separating from the pack. Baltimore and Houston sit on top with 5-1 records, but the mighty Texans were just decimated on Sunday Night by the visiting Packers (3-3) and Baltimore lost its best cornerback, and if Cowboys coach Jason Garrett had that elusive clock management skill, the Ravens could be sitting at 4-2.
The Steelers, for as down as followers of the league are on them, are arguably two field goals away from that same perch. And we'd have the same argument over whether they would be a good 5-1 team.
If "panic in their play" gets them a win, or at least an outstanding performance in a road environment, then consider Larry Foote a visionary. Maybe the pressing the proverbial Panic Button becomes the cool thing to do. Because winning isn't really in right now, either.