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Steelers cut Joey Porter

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Chuck~Taylor, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    Brown was a huge underachiever in Seattle.

    There was more written about his snake farm than anything he ever did on the field.
  2. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Was Seattle playing a 3-4 at the time? Brown was playing in the perfect system for his skill set in Pittsburgh. That's the story with a lot of NFL free agents. They hurt not only the team they leave, but their own level of play by going away from the system that helped them to be so successful.
  3. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    outofplace, Brown played on a 4-3 in Seattle. So did Levon Kirkland when he came.

    I think both those guys, along with the maligned Willie Williams, all played in the perfect system in Pittsburgh. Williams especially. He was an undersized, very average corner and that was exposed in Seattle.
  4. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Nah. Williams always sucked

    Kirkland was definitely better suited to a 3-4 inside spot, where he could be aggressive and physical without having to cover as much ground sideline-to-sidely. And Brown was an edge rusher who could stop the run.
  5. Oz

    Oz Well-Known Member

    All I know is, I would be stunned if the Steelers don't address the pass rush with their first pick in the draft, given this move.
  6. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    Mike Silver's SI season preview this year:

    HE STOOD at the podium seething inside, yet appearing as sapped of ferocity as a zoo lion. This should have been a great day for Joey Porter, an opportunity for one of the NFL's most voluble players to unleash his stream of consciousness on an international media horde gathered before him at Ford Field. Instead, on media day before Super Bowl XL, the Pittsburgh Steelers' All-Pro outside linebacker was making brief, flattering statements about the Seattle Seahawks, disappointing the crowd that had come to prod him in his cage. Why did I promise my coach I'd do this? Porter thought to himself. And why is he muzzling me in the first place?

    Earlier in January, before an AFC divisional playoff game in Indianapolis, Porter had called the Colts soft, and afterward he'd accused the refs of cheating to help Peyton Manning win an NFL title. Before the Super Bowl, Steelers coach Bill Cowher had instructed his players to avoid inflammatory quotes. So now Porter stood--fighting his every impulse--near one end zone of the Detroit stadium, resenting questions from reporters about sensationalistic subjects, such as the time he'd been shot in the butt outside a Denver bar, when they should have been asking about his recent destruction of three of the AFC's top-rated offenses. He dutifully praised the Seahawks, lauding their MVP running back and their All-Pro left tackle. That was killing him.

    After the interview session Porter felt like showering. He was still in a funk the next morning when, under a large tent adjacent to the Steelers' hotel in suburban Pontiac, he took a seat at his preassigned table and prepared for another 60 minutes of torture. Then it happened: Blessedly, beautifully, a reporter apprised Porter of a media-day quote from Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens. In response to a question about retiring Pittsburgh halfback Jerome Bettis's return to his hometown to play in the Super Bowl, Stevens had said, "It's a heartwarming story and all that, but it will be a sad day when he leaves without that trophy."

    To Porter the words felt like warm sunshine on an early spring morning. He closed his eyes. "You ever seen the movie Underworld: Evolution, where the blood drips down there, and it wakes up Marcus?" he asked excitedly, comparing himself to a dormant vampire. "Well, Marcus now got woke up. I was asleep all week. I just tasted blood right there ... and you crave it when you haven't tasted it in a while. Now I'm thirsty."

    Few reporters understood what Porter was talking about; they just knew their week had become less boring. For the next two days Porter was the best story at the world's most-hyped sporting event. In a pair of interviews televised live by the NFL Network, Porter skewered Stevens with increasing intensity, calling him soft and "almost a first-round bust" and vowing to remind him of what he said "every time I put him on his back." Porter promised to try to "tap out" as many Seattle players as possible--slang for when a guy taps his helmet to signal he wants to leave the game. Reporters loved it. Porter was ecstatic.

    He was still jaw-jacking late on Super Sunday when Stevens, who'd scored the Seahawks' lone touchdown, dropped his fourth pass of the day with three seconds remaining in the Steelers' 21--10 victory. "You could've been the difference in the game," Porter barked at Stevens. "Now you'll be mad the whole off-season." Part of Porter wanted to hug the guy for his efforts; instead, he kissed the Lombardi Trophy and kept right on yapping through the long, glorious night.

    FIVE MONTHS later, in the pool house behind his lovely home in Southern California's least glamorous city--Bakersfield, where foam truckers' hats never went out of style--Porter was again talking, in his gravelly rasp, about a player unworthy of being a champion. This time the target was point guard Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks, who were down three games to two before Game 6 of the NBA Finals. As more than half a dozen members of Porter's Bakersfield crew sucked down Budweisers before the game, the room was alive with the sound of spirited trash talk.
  7. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    "Jason Terry ain't got no A jumper!" Porter growled. "Dirk [Nowitzki] does; Ray Allen does. Terry, he's got a C."

    "Terry's a B," fired back Corny Asada, a.k.a. Kanieln Inouye--he was given his nickname by Porter at a Vegas craps table--prompting a protracted debate over NBA shooters. Soon Porter was screaming, "Terry ain't no B! Gilbert Arenas is a B. D-Wade is a B. Paul Pierce is a B!"

    "Paul F------ Pierce!" everyone howled. Porter scowled. An explanation was in order: Two years earlier Porter and his crew were partying in Las Vegas, a frequent destination, only five hours by car from Bakersfield. The Steelers had gone an AFC-record 15--1 the previous season and been to the conference title game, and when Porter and his boys rolled up to the House of Blues, the doorman recognized him and waved them in. "We bought a lot of bottles and had a lot of fun," Porter remembers. "We stayed late, and everyone was loving us."

    The next night Porter and the crew returned. This time the scene was more hectic, and the doorman started sweating them about the dress code. An argument broke out, right in the middle of which Pierce, the Boston Celtics swingman, and his entourage walked up to the velvet rope. The doorman's eyes lit up, and he immediately let them in--even though Pierce was wearing sneakers. "That's Paul F------ Pierce!" the doorman gushed.

    "This is Joey F------ Porter!" the linebacker's friends screamed, to no avail.

    Porter learned something that day. "Oh, man," he says. "He played me so bad. I saw then that I still hadn't done enough."

    If Porter is truly getting neglected in comparison with peers such as Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, it's not because he's shy, off the field or on. At 29, with an unyielding engine and a motormouth to match, the 6'3", 250-pound Porter may be the most fearsome outside linebacker since Lawrence Taylor. Just ask New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, whose experience lining up opposite Porter as a first-year starter in the AFC Championship Game in January 2002 left him wondering whether he should have pursued a baseball career. "It was scary," Brady recalls. "Joey is one of the most physically intimidating players you'll go up against. He talks the talk, but he walks it too--he's coming after you, hard, every single snap. Now that I've gotten to know him, he's like my favorite guy in the world, but on the field you know there's nothing he'd rather do than take the quarterback's head off."

    Or ask Manning, who says, "Some guys in the NFL who talk like Joey are all talk--but not Joey. Joey's got Ray Lewis energy for four quarters. It's not wasted energy. He hits you as hard in the fourth quarter as he did in the first, which tells you that he backs up everything he says."
  8. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    A three-time Pro Bowl player who led all NFL linebackers with 10 1/2 sacks in 2005, Porter has a killer combination of strength, size, speed and intensity that allows him to wreak havoc in Pittsburgh's aggressive 3--4 scheme. Says fellow Steelers linebacker Clark Haggans, who also played with Porter at Colorado State, "When he steps on the football field, I swear his eyes change colors and he grows a couple of horns, like he's turning into Satan himself."

    Porter has been giving 'em hell since 1999, his rookie year, when the third-round draft pick refused to wear 95, the jersey number of former Pittsburgh All-Pro Greg Lloyd, once the season started. Porter chose 55 instead, wanting to avoid comparisons with Lloyd. A former college H-back and defensive end, he made a quick impact, with 17 special teams tackles as a rookie and then 10 1/2 sacks after becoming a starter his second season. (His next regular-season sack will be the 54th of his career, moving him past Lloyd into fifth place on the team's alltime list.) Porter's a powerful enough tackler to have once played middle linebacker in the team's nickel alignment, and he's quick and nimble enough to make plays in pass coverage. He had seven interceptions and 23 passes defensed over the past four seasons.

    On top of all that, his motivational value to the Steelers can't be overstated. Rocking out pregame to the Beastie Boys and 50 Cent, railing at opponents during warmups, doing backflips and dancing wildly as his team gathers in the tunnel, Porter, in Haggans's words, "is the visual image of all the fury people have inside of them." Cowher, himself a former linebacker with a hot temper, says Porter is "without a doubt the emotional leader of this team."

    PORTER'S EMOTION is so genuine and so much a part of him that Cowher's instincts are not to try to tame it, but there are times when the coach feels his linebacker goes too far. Porter's not difficult to provoke, as the Ravens' Lewis demonstrated in warmups before the 2003 season opener when he mocked his injured rival by doing Porter's signature leg-kick celebration, the Boot. A week earlier Porter had been shot through the left buttock while fleeing random gunfire outside a Denver sports bar, and he was in a fragile state of mind. The shooting spree, which killed one man, nearly deprived Porter of his manhood; he's convinced that the bullet, which lodged in his right thigh, would have hit him in the most sensitive of regions had he not assumed a "sprinter's" stride while fleeing.

    Porter screamed insults at Lewis on the field, blasted him afterward to reporters and got into a shouting match with him near the Steelers' bus. At a late-December rematch in Baltimore, the two co-captains had to be separated before the coin toss. They patched up their differences last February in Hawaii, a few days before the Pro Bowl. Lewis, serving as an analyst for the NFL Network, praised Porter in the days leading up to the Super Bowl and, as a former MVP on the field for a pregame ceremony, wished him luck. "Ray and I have come a long way," Porter says. (Lewis, through a Ravens spokesman, said, "There was no hatchet to bury" and declined to comment further.)

    Aside from the two games he sat out following the gunshot wound, the only game Porter has missed was in November 2004, when he was ejected before the kickoff because of a fight with Cleveland Browns halfback William Green during warmups. A remorseful Porter was chewed out by Cowher and by the one person whose authority he respects even more: his wife, Christy. Unlike Sammy Hagar, this is one person who can drive 55. "She's his Kryptonite," Bettis says of Christy, a Bakersfield native with whom Joey has four children: daughters Jayla, 9, and Jasmine, 7, and sons Joey Jr., 6, and Jacob, 2.
  9. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    Christy met her future husband when she was a third-grader and Joey, one grade behind her, "was the class clown," she recalls. "I thought, God, does this kid ever shut up? The older he got, the louder he got. I can still remember our junior high school principal, Mr. Seams, standing in the balcony looking just like the teacher from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, screaming, 'Joey Porter--shut up!'"

    Part of Porter's resistance to zipping it stemmed from his hardscrabble surroundings. "In Bakersfield everybody's always trying to challenge you," says Porter's older brother, Amosis (a.k.a. Moss). "It's the bully syndrome: If you tone it down, they'll step on you. And Joey has the biggest mouth in all of Bakersfield."

    Christy mostly wanted no part of it but agreed to accompany Joey to their high school prom after both were stood up by their respective dates. Eventually he won her over--even after he showed up late for their wedding in 1999. According to Porter, his best man, Colorado State (and future Cincinnati Bengals) linebacker Adrian Ross, was being cited for parking illegally on an east Bakersfield street, and the groom-to-be bristled when the officers called for a search of Ross's tricked-out Chevy Impala. One cop ordered Porter to cross the street and keep quiet; predictably, he refused. "Typical Bakersfield cops, doing what they do--harassing and intimidating," Porter says. "They threw me in handcuffs for asking questions and left me in the back of the police car in 110° heat with the engine turned off. I'd pissed them off so much, they drove me all the way downtown and then let me go. We were so damn mad, we all went back to my house and started drinking." When he finally arrived at his wedding, he says, "we were drunk and almost three hours late. My wife probably thought I wasn't coming."

    Wouldn't it have been easier simply to obey the cops in the first place? "What's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong," says Porter, who later pleaded no contest to obstructing or delaying an officer. "It's hard for me to sit back in those situations."

    PORTER APPEARED to be gearing up for another confrontation this off-season. He skipped some of the Steelers' voluntary workouts because he was unhappy with his contract--a four-year, $18.9 million deal that will pay him $9.2 million in salary and bonuses through 2007. But a conversation with Cowher defused the potential squabble with the front office. Now that he's back in black and gold, Porter, who missed the early part of camp while recovering from May arthroscopic surgery on his right knee (his third minor knee procedure in less than four years), intends to be louder and prouder than ever. He has been chilly to the Steelers' beat writers because he thinks they made too much of his lighthearted declaration that he would "have something to say" to President Bush when the team visited the White House in June. (In the end Porter merely declined Bush's invitation to do the Boot.) But there's little chance that Porter will remain subdued for long.

    As he said on a hot, dusty late-June afternoon while turning his Dodge Ram 500 onto Rosedale Highway in Bakersfield, "If you don't want me talking, tell the media not to even come near me, because you're asking me to tuck my tail, and I don't get down like that. I'm through doing the pat-on-the-back interviews--'He's great; we'll have our hands full.' I mean, when we say that s---, who are we really doing it for? The coaches? Do they all have a pact: 'Don't bash my players, and I won't bash yours'? Who are we trying to protect?"

    Driving past a large field dotted with oil rigs, Porter stuck his head out the window and let out a loud yell--"Woo-oooo!"--into the barren expanse. Though the temperature had reached triple digits, this was anything but hot air. "People try to make it like, If you speak your mind, you're a bad guy," he said, his eyes gleaming. "But hell, I'm 29 years old. I'm a grown-ass man. No more lying."
  10. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    We finally agree. I was trying to be delicate.

    Willie Williams flailingly trying to cover McCaffrey twice a year was always high comedy.
  11. Oz

    Oz Well-Known Member

    Willie Williams did make one of the more significant tackles in Steelers history, though, if memory serves me right ... the third-and-1 shoestring tackle against the Colts that helped them advance to Super Bowl XXX.
  12. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    When opposing QBs threw the ball and it was heading to Williams' side of the field, I always closed my eyes.
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