Steelers players say Joey Porter arrest is not a distraction
January 9, 2017 1:44 PM
Steelers' outside linebackers coach Joey Porter celebrates a third-down stop against the 49ers in a 2015 game at Heinz Field.
By Brian Batko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As Steelers coach Mike Tomlin often says, the standard is the standard.
For now, when it comes to Joey Porter, Steelers officials say the statement is the statement.
Arrested Sunday night in South Side and charged early this morning with assault, resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct stemming from the incident, Porter was released on bail but was not seen at the Steelers practice facility Monday. Some players met with the assembled media in the team locker room, but all claimed the legal situation concerning the organization’s outside linebackers coach is not a distraction as their playoff run continues.
“We’re a mature team,” said outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo. “We’ve got one goal in mind, so we're focused on that."
Porter, who turns 40 in March, is a former Steelers Pro Bowler and has been on the coaching staff since 2014. According to a criminal complaint filed early Monday, he argued with a doorman at The Flats bar at 1500 E. Carson St., then struggled with an off-duty police officer.
Chickillo said he had not seen Porter at the team facility as of late this morning and that he didn’t know much about the charges. Fellow linebacker Tyler Matakevich was with some friends when he heard the Porter news, which broke around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, but had no idea if Porter was in South Side with other Steelers players or coaches.
“We don’t really know nothing about it, so we can’t let that distract us,” Matakevich said. “Just got to stay focused on the task that we have at hand, you know what I mean? It’s winning each week.”
Matakevich and teammates said early Monday that players had not been informed by the team about Porter’s status and whether he is still a member of the coaching staff. The Steelers announced Monday afternoon that Porter had been placed on leave “pending further review.”
“The only stuff I know is just what’s going around,” Matakevich said. “I know we’re all waiting for the details, but you’ve just got to stay focused.”
Some players said they didn’t know about Porter’s incident until this morning when they arrived at the team facility, or had only found out from speaking with reporters. Monday is an off day for the Steelers after their 30-12 victory Sunday afternoon against Miami in the AFC wild-card round, but several players were present at team headquarters and had to face questions about one of their assistants.
“We’re a tough group mentally. Guys are willing to do whatever we need to do,” said offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert. “Whatever comes into this locker room stays in here. Whatever is out in the streets is none of my business. I’m here to play football and win a championship.”
Added rookie receiver Demarcus Ayers on Porter: “I just hope whatever is going on doesn’t become a distraction. We really need him to be around.”
Brian Batko: email@example.com and Twitter @BrianBatko.