LATROBE (AP) — Ramon Foster gives a wide smile, looks to the ground sheepishly and laughs quietly.
Like most of the men he lines up next to on the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line, Foster is affable, fun-loving and often flashes that smile — off the field, anyway.
In the trenches? A different story.
What induced Foster’s chuckle on a muggy late morning earlier this week at St. Vincent College was a question about the “mean,” in-your-face persona the Steelers’ offensive line appears to be embracing more than ever this season.
“Definitely, we have a little nasty edge to us,” the right guard said.
As one former Steelers offensive lineman prepares for induction into the Hall of Fame Saturday — Dermontti Dawson — indications are that this season’s reconfigured unit will play with an edge befitting a franchise traditionally known for its toughness and physical play.
“Our coach teaches us ... to always finish,” Foster said. “If you’ve got a guy going down, put him on his back and show him why you are doing what you’re doing.”
Strong words from a 6-foot-6, 325-pound former undrafted free agent from Tennessee who has started 26 games over the first three years of his career. But Foster delivers that message with a soft voice and something of a verbal shrug when he’s in his T-shirt, basketball shorts and sandals.
Center Maurkice Pouncey is even more jovial when in street clothes. He resembles the Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters” fame a bit — more so for his ever-present grin than his 6-4, 304-pound frame.