Joey Porter, who was named the Steelers’ all-decade team of the 2000s for his pass-rushing and playmaking ability, is returning to the franchise as an assistant coach. Porter, who retired from the NFL after the 2011 season, was added to Mike Tomlin’s staff as a defensive assistant.
Porter played for the Steelers from 1999-2006 and earned a Super Bowl ring when the Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. He was a salary cap casualty 13 months after that victory and signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins. He finished his playing career with the Arizona Cardinals in 2011.
The Steelers did not specify Porter’s job duties, but he’ll likely work in some capacity with the outside linebackers. Porter’s first coaching experience came last fall as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater, Colorado State, where he helped coach the linebackers.
“I’m fortunate to come back and work for an organization that drafted me out of college,” Porter told the Colorado State athletic website. “It’s a place I couldn’t be happier to be. There are two places I wanted to coach, CSU and Pittsburgh, and in two years I’ve been able to accomplish both. I’m truly blessed. CSU did everything for me to give me an opportunity to be where I am.”
Porter brought production and swagger to the Steelers. In eight seasons, he recorded 60 sacks and ranks fifth in franchise history in that statistical category. In addition to his playmaking abilities, Porter was a leader on the field and in the locker room.
Porter once stepped onto the Baltimore Ravens team bus and challenged linebacker Ray Lewis to a fight after he thought Lewis disrespected him in a game at Heinz Field in 2003 when Lewis mimicked Porter’s trademark leg kick after a play.
Porter also became part of the spectacle at Super Bowl XL when he got into a war of words throughout the week with Seahawks tight end Jeramy Stevens.
Porter finished his 13-year career with 98 sacks (31st on the NFL’s all-time list), 25 forced fumbles, 12 interceptions, 9 fumble recoveries, 3 touchdowns and 1 safety. He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times and named All-Pro four times.
When Porter got his 70th sack during the 2008 season with the Dolphins, he became the first NFL player with 10 interceptions and 70 sacks.
Porter is likely to tutor the young outside linebackers. Jarvis Jones, the team’s No. 1 draft choice last season, finished his rookie year with one sack. As a team, the Steelers finished 25th in the league in sacks last season.
“We are excited about having Joey back with the Steelers’ family,” Tomlin said in a statement. “Joey spent a number of years with Pittsburgh as a player, and now he’s back to assist the coaching staff. We look forward to his efforts and contributions.”
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published February 11, 2014 9:36 AM