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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Porters departure troubles Steeler players

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_495927.html

    By Scott Brown
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Saturday, March 3, 2007


    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The backdrop at Walt Disney World on Friday offered a stark contrast to the reality rammed home to two of the Steelers' most prominent players a day earlier.
    Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Hines Ward are at a veritable fantasy land this weekend, taking part in the annual "ESPN The Weekend" at Disney's MGM Studios, and both said they understand that football at this level is a business as much as it is a game.

    But each also said that realization didn't make the loss of outside linebacker Joey Porter, who was released Thursday because of financial considerations, any easier.

    "I got better playing against Joey Porter," Roethlisberger said yesterday. "Just everything that he brought made me a better player."





    "I think (the Steelers cutting Porter) just shocked everybody, regardless of the situation," Ward said. "Joey's always been the catalyst of our defense, the focal point of our defense. There's no question losing a Joey Porter hurts our team defensively."

    His release is another change in an offseason that has been full of them for the Steelers.

    Bill Cowher, who had been the Steelers head coach since 1992, resigned in January, and no one is sure what shape the Steelers will take under Mike Tomlin, especially after what happened with Porter.

    "(Alan) Faneca called me, some of the veteran guys, my phone has been blowing up like, 'What the hell are we doing?' " said Ward, a nine-year veteran. "A lot of guys are questioning what's going on, kind of worried about the makeup of this team, where we are actually going to go."

    Ward said he has talked to Tomlin, liked what the new coach had to say and is excited to play for him.

    But Porter's release was, if not unsettling to Ward, at least the equivalent of cold water thrown in the face.

    Ward is one of the highest-paid Steelers, and his salary will count $5.9 million against the salary cap this season.

    "As a veteran guy, you look at (what happened to Porter) and you worry a little bit because you lay it out on the line to try to do what's best for the team and then you see players get cut," Ward said. "You sit there and say, 'Uh oh. Am I next in line?' "

    Ward, whose contract doesn't expire until after the 2009 season, said the Steelers have not approached him about restructuring the deal. But, he acknowledged, after next season the two sides will probably have to do something to make his contract more amenable to the salary cap if he is to stay with the Steelers.

    Porter had one year left on his contract, but it was a foregone conclusion that he wouldn't return to the team unless he and the Steelers worked out a long-term extension.

    Ward and Roethlisberger said his loss goes beyond the numbers Porter posted in sacks, tackles and opponents intimidated.

    While the colorful and sometimes controversial Porter rankled his share of people outside of the Steelers' locker room, he was eminently popular inside of it.

    "Joey was such a great friend, not only a teammate," Ward said. "Not having him around the locker room, he's going to be missed in that sense. I'm sure Joey would have loved to just retire as a Steeler. Players, coaches, we come and go, it's a part of the business, and that's kind of the (bad) part of it."

    Roethlisberger agreed.

    "You lose a guy that's such an emotional leader, a phenomenal football player and a game-changer on defense for us," he said. "What the Rooneys felt was the right decision they made, and it's a business for them as well."
    This is exactly what Ive been saying since this started and so have some of you as well. For those that doubt Porters influence on this team and he meant as a locker room and on the field leader and friend, read this article. These players aren't just talking to hear themselves talk otherwise they'd be downplaying this so it doesnt seem as bad.

    This team is in a state of flux and these players don't know how to deal with this type of change. They've all seen teammates come and go over the years but the change that we're undergoing now is unlike anything 90 percent of our roster has ever seen. I know we're excited about Tomlin and his ideas and fresh attitude toward coaching and everything but we have to remember that our players are human beings too with feelings and they were all very attached to Joey and respected him as a teammate and friend. In their eyes his play didn't drop off 1 bit contrary to what the media and some of us think. They understand the NFL is business, it's part of the gig when you sign up to play, but still the affects of what's been happening with coaches leaving, players getting released is going to take its toll on this team as the coming months unfold. How they handle it will be key to our success especially early on.

    It's going to take longer than you might think for this team to adjust, partly because they are all scattered and not in Pittsburgh and most have them have barely talked to Tomlin at this point so there's alot of unanswered questions among the players that need to be resolved. I hope they are able to move forward as a unit and compete and play well and grasp the new scheme and ideas that Tomlin has but don't be surprised if we do struggle atleast some early on.
    Last edited by BlitzburghRockCity; 03-03-2007 at 05:22 PM.

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    Top 30 Friday133's Avatar
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    Meh. this is just their emotions talking right now. Wait until they get in mini camp in May and then training camp in July. This team will find an identity and be just fine. There is just way too much of a deal being made of Porter leaving IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Friday133 View Post
    Meh. this is just their emotions talking right now. Wait until they get in mini camp in May and then training camp in July. This team will find an identity and be just fine. There is just way too much of a deal being made of Porter leaving IMO.
    Last I checked, football is an emotional game. This team has no identity at the moment. I have my doubts that this team will find an indentity by the time the reg. season rolls around. When we got rid of guys like Lloyd and Woodson, we had people who could step up and take their place, this is not the case with Porter. He can still go above and dbeyond what is expected of him. I really hope he doesn't get picked up by the bungles, b/c he is going to make up pay if he does.

    I stand by my previous statement that this is a terrible move. It's all about letting the team know who is in charge, and the outcome is going to hurt the fans. Tomlin is trying to show who the boss is, and I think the team is going to resent him for it.

    He better show me something in this draft.

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    Waterboy
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    I believe someone named Noll was quoted as saying "Franco who?" after the release of the star RB. The Steeler's made the playoffs that year.

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    Football is indeed an emotional game and last time I checked that was still the case. When a player like HInes, Alan, and Ben speak on a topic involving a teammate we as fans should pay attention.

    Sure sometimes players say things just to get attention, but in a case like this when these guys are in the offseason, on vacation and they are all calling each other wondering what's going on and who's next, then yes that's cause for concern. You can't just pick up an identity at the drop of a hat. Cowher spent years molding us into the team that he left behind and now Tomlin must do the same thing. Players are people too and while they know the NFL is a business and players come and go at any given time, this year is unlike anything we've seen in the last 15 years.

    I stand by my statements ever since Cowher left that this team may very well struggle out of the gate in 2007. It doesnt matter how much you try to downplay change, it's going to affect the players and the chemistry of the group atleast in the beginning. You as a coach have to convince players to buy into your system and your way of thinking. You can't just walk into the room and start smacking the gavel around and think you've got the respect of the room. It has to be earned. Tomlin has said alot of positive things so far and most of the players seem to think he's going to be good for the Steelers but that doesn't discount the fact that they won't just roll into a new system and thinks it's all hunky dory when the system they came out of just last year has gotten them so much success.

    Porter leaving is just another moving in this wild offseason that the players have to deal with. Uncertainty brings apprehension and this team needs to come together. It's too early to throw in the towel on 2007 of course, nobody is doing that, but that doesn't mean that the concern factor for 2007 is slowly but surely rising as well.

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    Draft Pick tony hipchest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelcurtaindad View Post
    I believe someone named Noll was quoted as saying "Franco who?" after the release of the star RB. The Steeler's made the playoffs that year.
    ...and 26 years later the steelers finally won another superbowl. i agree with stillers#1, i hate the porter move. but then again i hated seeing cowher walk, and i will hate the inevitable faneca, and ward moves. but the simple matter of the fact is the rooneys have decided to go in a different direction.

    ignore the fact that this steelers team won the sb 2 seasons ago. right now the rooneys are looking at getting where the jets or saints are with a new hope and direction.

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    See that's the thing that bugs me..the Saints and Jets needed a new direction cuz they sucked 2 years ago. They got a new HC and a system, etc and they are doing well. We weren't broke yet we continue to make changes that for this year make less sense than usual.

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    If Porter had played better on the field last year and injuries not been a factor he would still be here but the fact his he can now be considered injury prone and now that he is on the downside of his career paying a declining injury prone player doesn't make alot of sense. No different than the previously when older vets were let go for the same reason, its not like we dont have any other leadership on the team
    "Racing doesn't teach a lesson. Nor do most racers. Many of them can't even tell you why they're in the cockpit. They don't know. Racing isn't what they do. It's who they are."

    R.I.P. Dan Wheldon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Friday133 View Post
    Meh. this is just their emotions talking right now. Wait until they get in mini camp in May and then training camp in July. This team will find an identity and be just fine. There is just way too much of a deal being made of Porter leaving IMO.
    I totally disagree! It is emotional! These guys are like family, we play like family and that's why we are a unique football team. We don't play like the other teams iwith their "There is I in the word Team" football. Each player complements each other and losing Porter is a huge loss to the Steelers. Emotionally and defensively. If you thought last year was bad, wait till this year now. Losing Jerome and now Joey (Strong LEADERS!!), I was so excited about this new coach until this suprising news about Joey now I feel disaapointment somewhat! Our boys are fearing for their positions and in some way it's good but I think its going to do more harm that good and now how are they feeling about their new coach after this?. I'll bet Joey has his best year this year and I'm sorry it's not going to be as a Steeler!!!!
    Last edited by TampaSteelGirl; 03-03-2007 at 07:30 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    See that's the thing that bugs me..the Saints and Jets needed a new direction cuz they sucked 2 years ago. They got a new HC and a system, etc and they are doing well. We weren't broke yet we continue to make changes that for this year make less sense than usual.
    Yea and now the Saints let Joe Horn go because of money too!!!! What's going on????????


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