Porter, 29, is a colorful personality who brings passion to everything he does. His aggressive playing style and strong work ethic blend perfectly with the Steelers blue-collar fan base. He's a hard hitter who doesn't hold back on the playing field or off.
Porter, who has 57 careers sacks, is strongly opinionated about what's wrong with the 2-6 Steelers.
He also speaks freely and frankly for the first time about the status of his six-year, $22.5 million contract, which has one year remaining after this season, and about his desire for an extension, so he can finish his career with the Steelers.
Trib: There's one more year on your contract after this season. Are you still seeking an extension on your current deal?
Porter: I'm just trying to concentrate on playing football. I try to not even worry about my contract situation because I'm here. I've always been happy.
I've never had a day with me playing football for the Steelers being unhappy.
At that point in time, I just wanted some assurance of where I was going to be. My kids go to school here. They're getting older. My philosophy is I didn't see the difference. You know I'm going to be here.
As far as my play, my level of play is not going to drop. I feel like I'm in my prime of playing football. Lock me in, so I don't have to think, ''What am I going to do next year? Am I going to be here, or am I not going to be here?'' I don't want to have that stress on my mind.
If we're all in this thing together, if we're a team, it's tough to tell a person we want to make a rule for this person, but everybody else has to go by this. That was the big thing. It wasn't that, 'Joey we don't want to give you the deal.'
It's the whole point why are you going to make one person better than the rest of the team? You're creating separation on the team and don't even know it.
You can't say that the quarterback is the only person that can do a deal with two years left; everybody else has to wait.
(Former Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox signed an extension with the team with two years left on his contract.)
That one rule right there separates him from everybody else.
Trib: Is that an issue with other Steelers players?
Porter: That's not what happened. I'm just saying that's how you look at it as a player. I'm going to go out there and play hard anyway.
I've always known, if doesn't work here, I have to be ready to prepare my skills for the next team that happens to be looking at me. I don't like to think about that, but that's part of the game. It's still a business.
That was just the only argument I didn't feel comfortable with. Here I am the leader of the team, so you say, and I just want to know what my long-term future is going to be.
I'm telling you, right now, I don't want to leave. I don't want to go nowhere.
Am I wrong for asking for an extenstion? Does that make you a bad guy because you want to secure your future?
You're telling me he (Maddox) can do it. I want to do it, too. I go to work every day like they do.
It's just a tough situation when you have all these players on the team fighting just as hard as everybody else, and you're going to have one rule for one person and not the rest of the team.
Trib: Why do you consider a contract extension so important?
Porter: Because, as you see in this game, people go down every day.
Verron (Haynes) hurt his knee; he's out for the season. Arnold Harrison just hurt his knee; he's out for the season.
That play's out there every time you take the football field. In our business nothing is guaranteed.
The deal they gave me, I've never seen that type of money in my life; signed it with no questions; was very happy about it, still happy about it. It changed my life forever. (But) I've outplayed that contract.
If you're talking about the best outside linebackers in the game right now playing, if my name ain't mentioned in the top three, I'm upset about it. Because I definitely know I am. I don't care what three, in what order, everybody's got their own opinion. But you can't tell me I'm not in there.
What I do know, I'm not in the top 10, as far as getting paid. I'm not in the top 20 linebackers getting paid, middle and outside.
I've shown no disrespect for the Rooneys. I love the Rooneys. They took a chance on a kid from Bakersfield, Calif. They've shown me nothing but love since I've been here. The same with the coaches and players. And the city of Pittsburgh accepted me.
Right now, I feel like I have a much bigger focus on trying to get back on track and getting back to where we need to be. That's a much bigger story than what Joey's situation is going to look like after this year.
Trib: There's a cute picture of your four children in your locker at the Steelers' practice facility on the South Side. Do Steelers fans see big, bad Joey Porter as a family man?
Porter: People aren't going to talk about Joey Porter the married man with four kids. They want to hear about me playing football, the attitude I have, stuff like that. That's always going to be the stereotype I get. But I don't mind it because I feel like, where I'm at with my life -- my family and my kids -- I don't have to brag about that. Football is the thing I do to provide for my family, but my family is my life.
My bio says: Married with four children. They know I'm a family man. They know I have a daughter that's autistic. Every now and then, they ask something about that. If you ask me about it, we can talk about it. But they just kind of choose not to, so I just give them what they want to hear.
Trib: It sounds like you're two different people. Are you a football player by day and a family man by night?
Porter: I have to be. I can't be the same person I am at work that I am at home. I can't bring my work home to my kids.
When I'm out there on the football field -- I believe this, and I'll always believe this -- you can only play football one way.
As much as they try to change football into a non-violent sport, I believe, sooner or later, it's going to be two-hand touch -- just on how you can't even tackle a person or do anything. It is what it is.
Football's a contact sport. It's a kid's game, but when you're at this level, it's a grown man's game.
That's why, in this game, you can't come straight out of high school -- because it's a physical game. That's why they make you stay in college at least two or three years before you come out.
Because when you get here, you're dealing with grown men, and these grown men are going to do whatever they can do to feed their families. Each week, you have to be at your best.
For me to be at my best, I have to go out there and play and have the (right) mindset. You start playing passive or being a nice linebacker or lose your passion for the game, maybe it's time for you to get another job. Until I feel that day comes, I have to go out there and play football the way I know how.