Sound of silence: Joey Porter no longer the talk of Steelers camp Print
Written by Admin   
Friday, 27 July 2007 11:22
NFL Headline News

 LATROBE, Pa. (AP) -Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Clark Haggans made this same call a hundred times, so he instinctively reached for his cell phone before leaving for training camp.
Ring up teammate and fellow linebacker Joey Porter and ask for a ride.
Only this time, the call would have been long distance.
``I said, 'Oh yeah, he's in Miami,''' Haggans said. ``Not having him out here is a little bit of a change.''
For the first time since he entered the NFL in 2000, Haggans no longer has Porter for a teammate. The Steelers released the former Pro Bowl linebacker in a salary cap move last spring and Porter, who had played for them since 1999, quickly signed with Miami.
The Steelers without Joey Porter, one of the NFL's loudest, proudest and, at times, best players? Haggans, who was also Porter's teammate for all but one college season at Colorado State, needs some time to get used to this.
``I've played my college career and whole professional career up to now with him,'' Haggans said. ``I know this - it's a lot quieter now when we stretch.''
A lot quieter in the locker room, too, where Porter often was the first to defend his teammates, motivate them, drive them. His play at right outside linebacker may have slipped some as the Steelers went 8-8 last season after winning the Super Bowl the season before, but it was obvious the three-time Pro Bowl player remained one of their leaders.
How the Steelers react without Porter, on and off the field, is one of the big challenges of new coach Mike Tomlin's first season.
``Joey's still going to be Joey, but we're still the Steelers and we still got a season,'' Haggans said. ``We just got to push forward. He wishes us luck and can't wait to play us.''
That will be Nov. 26, when the Dolphins play in Pittsburgh for the second season in a row. Wide receiver Hines Ward, who has heard so many of Porter's us-against-the-world tirades, still can't imagine Porter talking down to his longtime teammates.
Ward was among the veteran players who spoke out during the offseason, questioning if it was wise for the Steelers to let Porter go at age 30 with some good seasons possibly left.
``I want to see if there's really going to be trash talking, if he really can trash talk us,'' Ward said. ``You can't trash talk your boys, Joey.''
Since the Steelers won that Super Bowl 17 months ago, the three biggest leaders from that team are gone: Former star running back Jerome Bettis retired, coach Bill Cowher resigned after 15 seasons and Porter was pushed out.
However, the Steelers were convinced they lacked the cap room to re-sign Porter, a decision supported by the $20 million the Dolphins guaranteed him. Porter would have made only one-quarter of that this season in Pittsburgh.
``We'll miss Joey, there's no question, and he was great at getting guys up each day,'' Ward said. ``But that's how this game goes, players come and go.''
This is how Porter operated: He intentionally picked a verbal fight with Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens during a media interview session early in the Super Bowl week.
Stevens' perceived transgression was a minor one, even by motivational standards - he said the Seahawks were looking forward to ruining Bettis' retirement party. But Porter kept at it for two days, putting the spotlight on himself and taking it away from the younger and possibly more nervous players.
Players like Porter don't come along frequently, and the Steelers know it. It was no coincidence that, for the first time, they drafted pass-rushing linebackers in the first two rounds - Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley - after releasing Porter.
``He did what great leaders do, and that's make everybody around him better,'' Ward said. ``He's still a great ballplayer and he raised the level of the defense to where it needed to be. It was sad losing him because I thought he had a lot of football left in him. It's hard to replace a guy like Joey Porter.''

NFL Team Pages

Top NFL Public Bets

#1 474 San Diego Chargers 78%
#2 477 Seattle Seahawks 76%
#3 467 Pittsburgh Steelers 75%
#4 475 Cincinnati Bengals 74%
#5 453 Cleveland Browns 74%
#6 456 Philadelphia Eagles 73%
#7 451 Chicago Bears 72%
#8 464 Detroit Lions 72%
#9 302 Green Bay Packers 70%
#10 462 Dallas Cowboys 68%
View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NFL Futures

View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.