Porter remains unhappy camper over contract
Cowher main reason LB reported to camp on time
Friday, August 18, 2006
By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers linebacker Joey Porter told the NFL Network last night that he almost did not show up at camp this summer, and the main reason he did was because of his close relationship with coach Bill Cowher.
"He's one of the main reasons why I'm back here at camp," Porter said. "Contract-wise I wasn't too happy with the situation that we [had] going into the season. But I talked to coach Cowher, and after me and him had our words ... he said he's going to be here, so he had a big impact on me being here in camp this year."
Co-host Marshall Faulk then asked a follow-up question about holding out of camp and whether Porter felt like he was underpaid.
"Definitely," Porter said. "I definitely feel that I have outplayed the contract that I am under. What I bring to the team ... It's not just me out there playing football. Me being the leader I am and the response I get from my team ... The whole city of Pittsburgh knows what I bring. Coach Cowher knows what I bring.
"We had a talk, and it was 'I need you.' I was unhappy. There was no use me lying about it. I wasn't going to talk to anybody and just play football since they made it the business it is. I was ready to just come out here and give them the business.
"I didn't have to come out here and be nice to anybody. But me having a talk with coach Cowher and the relationship we have, I feel like I can suck it in, even though I'm not happy with the contract, go out there for coach Cowher and play like I know how to play and just put it all in God's hands and see what happens next year."
The Post-Gazette reported in May that Porter was unhappy with his contract. Porter, 29, has two years left on a contract he signed in February 2004. He is scheduled to earn a $3.85 million salary this year and $5 million next season, which includes a $1 million roster bonus.
Porter, one of the Steelers' captains since 2003, led all NFL linebackers last season with 101/2 sacks and made his third Pro Bowl. His 53 career sacks rank sixth all-time for the Steelers, half a sack behind Greg Lloyd. A third-round draft choice from Colorado State in 1999, Porter became the team's starting right outside linebacker in 2000.