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Foster puts NFL debut behind him

Posted Sep 13, 2011 by Ira Kaufman

Updated Sep 13, 2011 at 10:58 AM

By IRA KAUFMAN

TAMPA—Mason Foster figured he’d be a little jittery Sunday, and he was right.

Tampa Bay’s rookie middle linebacker made six tackles against Detroit in his regular-season pro debut as the Bucs dropped a 27-20 decision at Raymond James Stadium. The man Foster replaced, veteran Barrett Ruud, tied for the league lead with 14 stops in Tennessee’s 16-14 loss at Jacksonville.

“I definitely would rather have had the win, but to go out there and play against a good offense and good playmakers was a good way to get going,’’ said Foster, who registered one tackle for a loss and also made one stop on special teams.

The third-round pick out of Washington was named Tampa Bay’s starting middle linebacker early in training camp and he eagerly anticipated his first NFL game that counted.

“Nerves, of course,’’ he said. “You try to tell yourself you’re not going to be nervous out there, but at the same time, I was having fun. All my teammates were keeping me calm and kept me having fun. It was good to get out there and play, knowing I’ll get better every week.’‘

Foster was asked about the stifling conditions, with a heat index topping 100 degrees and several players from both clubs cramping up.

“There are no excuses,’’ Foster said. “We practice in this heat every day here in Tampa. I felt everybody kept playing hard out there, but we came up a little short.’‘

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