Foster: 'I want to be out there'
Arian Foster was frustrated. He wanted to be on the field. He wanted to help his team win.
In the middle of the fourth quarter in the Texans’ 31-28 come-from-behind win over the Chargers, ESPN cameras caught Foster visibly frustrated after not being put in the game in favor of Ben Tate.
“Obviously, they had a game plan going in of how much they wanted me to play, trying to ease me back into it,” Foster said about his workload. “But my competitive nature, of course you want to be in. It’s getting to crunch time, it’s the fourth quarter. You want to be out there. That’s kind of how it played out. In my opinion, you should be concerned with a player who’s happy he’s not in there in the last minutes of the game when the game’s on the line. The competitor in me, I want to be out there but I have to ease my way back in.”
Foster said he’s not worried about the perception some people have after seeing him become frustrated on the sideline.
On Monday night, Foster ended up with 18 carries, double what Tate had, but wanted to be in the game as the Texans were mounting their comeback.
“He’s a competitor. Any real competitor would want to be out there,” Tate said. “I’m the same way. When he’s on the field, I want to be out there. I guess maybe I learned to not show it as much because I’ve been through it a lot more than him. We’re teammates. I understand where he’s coming from.”
The Texans needed to get away from their run game as a whole on Monday night as they found themselves down 21 points in the third quarter. But going forward, head coach Gary Kubiak said he’d like to have Foster and Tate split reps.
“It has to be OK with me,” Foster said. “We’re chess pieces. Coach makes the final ruling. But as a competitor, I’ve been in this league and I feel like I’ve played well throughout my tenure here. And you want to be out there. You feel like you’ve earned that right to be out there and that’s where the frustration comes from.”
Foster is being eased into the 2013 season after missing all of training camp and the preseason games with calf and back injuries. He led the league in carries in 2012 and has had three straight seasons with at least 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. Foster has been healthy in the regular season, while Tate has not.
“It means a lot,” Tate said of Kubiak’s wanting to give him carries. “I guess it means they’re starting to get a little more confidence in me I guess. So it means a great deal to me. I’m just going to keep working hard and trying to keep doing whatever I can do to help this team take the next step.”
Tate missed time in 2012 with a hamstring injury and has played in just 27 games since being drafted in 2010. After Tate was drafted in 2010, Foster, who was an undrafted free agent in 2009, became the starter and finished the season with over 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Foster hasn’t given up the starter’s role since but Tate still wants it. Tate is in the final year of his rookie contract.
“It’s not like we hide anything from each other,” Tate said. “I tell him every day. ‘I’m coming for your spot every day.’ That’s just the way it is. It’s not like I’m hiding it from him.”
Tate said Foster responds with laughter when he tells him that he’s gunning for his job. The two are friends. They’re also competitors.
“He’s one of my best friends on the team,” Foster said. “We’re really close. I’m always pulling for him when he’s out there. That’s the kind of relationship we have.”