There is a long list of great Pittsburgh Steelers running backs. Whether you are talking about Rocky Bleier, Franco Harris, Jerome Bettis, Bam Morris and even the current Le'Veon Bell. There is one name which is typically left off the list, and that is Barry Foster.
Foster's time with the Steelers, and the NFL, was brief due to injuries, but when the man who wore No. 29 was on, he was fun to watch.
Drafted in 1990, Foster didn't play a major role on the team until Bill Cowher was hired and the 1992 season got underway and Foster was given a full compliment of carries to show off his skill set. What did Foster do with the opportunity? Only set franchise records for total yards, which stood until Le'Veon Bell shattered those marks in 2014.
Prior to 1992, Foster had never rushed for over 500 yards in a season, but in '92 that changed as he rushed for an astounding 1,690 yards on 390 carries and hit pay dirt 11 times. On top of nearly rushing for 1,700 yards, and being just 23 yards shy of the rushing title that year, Foster also had 36 receptions for 344 yards. The tremendous season got him voted to his first career Pro Bowl.
Foster wasn't done in 1992, and despite an injury plagued 1993 season, followed up the record-breaking season by rushing for 711 yards and catching 217 yards through the air - all in just 9 games. His performance was enough to earn him his second of back-to-back Pro Bowl nominations.
It was in 1994 when the emergence of Bam Morris, combined with more injuries added to Foster's already long list of ailments, made him expendable, but not before rushing for 851 yards and catching 124 yards through the air in only 11 games.
The last image of Barry Foster most Steelers fans remember is him sprawled out face down on the Three Rivers Stadium turf after the San Diego Chargers celebrated their AFC Championship victory due to low Neil O'Donnell pass thwarted the team's chances of advancing to play the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 29.
The Steelers would eventually break through in 1995 and make it to the Super Bowl, albeit losing to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl 30, but Foster wouldn't be on the team as the team traded him to the expansion Carolina Panthers. That final play in 1994 was his last in a Steelers uniform, and his last in the NFL as he was cut in training camp by the Panthers in 1995.
Some Steelers fans might not remember Foster, and some possibly have never heard his name until now, but when Foster was healthy he was an extremely dynamic running back for the black and gold. Foster was the first of many tremendous running backs for Bill Cowher, and despite his short stint with the team, and in the league, Foster should be remembered as one of great Steelers running backs in franchise history.