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Larry Foote angry at owners cutting employees’ pay

Steelers linebacker Larry Foote is speaking out for team employees who have had their pay cut, ripping NFL owners for allowing the lockout to hurt workers who have nothing to do with the labor situation.

“To lay people off to save money,” Foote told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I don’t know who they’re trying to fool. How the heck are they laying people off? I don’t get that part. That ain’t right right there. That’s affecting people’s lives; they’re not making millions of dollars, many of them are going check to check. It’s the first time I actually got mad when I read that the other day. They’re going too far. That’s ridiculous.”

The Steelers have no plans to cut employees’ pay during the lockout, but Foote, who lives in Detroit during the offseason, was angered when he read that the Lions have given employees mandatory two-week unpaid furloughs.

“That’s ridiculous. We all know through this lockout owners aren’t losing money, they’re making money,” Foote said. “They pay us $1,000 a week just to work out. Roster bonuses haven’t been paid.”

While Foote is unhappy about that aspect of the lockout, a couple of his teammates are seeing some good in the time off. Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke said he has no intention of participating in any type of player-organized minicamp, and he thinks it’s nice to be able to work out on his own schedule and spend time with his family when he wants.

“I guarantee you this, our defense is not going to do anything,” Hoke said. “One day, when they lifted the lockout, our strength coach had everything out and ready to go at 7 a.m., and nobody showed up. How do you expect guys in Hawaii or here and there or down south to quickly get here to work out? I would say 90 percent of the veteran players are fine with this lockout right now. I want to be in training camp, but, if we’re not going in now, when’s the last time I could go work out 3-4 hours in the morning and have the afternoon with my wife? Never.”

Hoke’s comments echo those of Bills receiver Stevie Johnson, who said every player in the league is happy to be locked out, and Saints running back Reggie Bush, who said he was enjoying time off before backtracking when he was criticized by fans.

Steelers safety Ryan Clark also echoed those comments, saying the Steelers’ defense doesn’t need to get together for organized workouts and will benefit from not having them.

“The good thing for us,” Clark said, “is there are no spring chickens on defense. This time’s been good for healing of your bodies. The mental part? We know how to play football. We know how to run cover 3. That dog blitz will still be deadly. We’ll be fine.”

But as Foote realizes, team employees won’t necessarily be fine.