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Thread: Linebacker will make Steelers regret letting him go

          
   
   
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  1. #1
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    Linebacker will make Steelers regret letting him go

    I know this was posted aready but I just thought to post "The Rest of the Story"

    He hurried through the bowels of the L.A. Coliseum wearing only a towel, a frantic 49ers official at his side. For Ronnie Lott, a future Hall of Famer rushing to the locker room of the franchise that had discarded him -- because San Francisco's Charles Haley was in the middle of a scary postgame tirade, and no one else was capable of calming him down -- this was what complete vindication looked like in September of 1991.
    More than 15 years later, I remember the strange scene vividly. And the more I think about the Steelers' dubious decision earlier this month to release linebacker Joey Porter, the more I think history is about to repeat.
    But first, back to our blast from the past: Lott, one of the proudest and fiercest men ever to wear a uniform, won four Super Bowls in 10 seasons with the Niners, but the team had allowed him to leave as a Plan B free agent following its crushing defeat to the New York Giants in the 1990 NFC Championship game. He signed with the L.A. Raiders and then, in the midst of an All-Pro season, helped thump his former team, 12-6, to drop San Francisco to 2-3.
    Haley, Lott's protégé and the 49ers' star pass rusher, freaked out in the locker room -- railing at the team's new quarterback, Steve Young, for failing to pull out the game the way Joe Montana had so many times in the past. At one point Haley ripped an IV out of his arm, causing blood to spurt everywhere. In an act of painful submission, the Niners sent a team official to the Raiders' locker room to summon Lott from the shower, and only then was order restored.
    I'm not saying the same thing will happen to Porter and one of his former Pittsburgh teammates when the Miami Dolphins face the Steelers at Heinz Field this season. But I do believe that by the end of 2007, the franchise that employed Porter for the first eight years of his exceptional career will be humiliated for having let him go.
    Did anyone else think it was at least slightly insane that the Steelers, faced with paying Porter a $1 million roster bonus and $4 million in base salary for '07, simply cut him, rather than trying to get him to agree to a restructured deal? Porter, who ended up signing a five-year, $32 million contract with the Dolphins that included $20 million in guaranteed money, certainly did.
    "I wish I just had an opportunity to turn down a deal," Porter told me earlier this week. "They didn't know what I would've turned down, so why not make an offer? That was the shocking thing -- they didn't even give me the option to stay. That's what was so frustrating."
    I've heard the Steelers' rationale: That Porter, who was going into the final year of his contract, wanted a lucrative extension and might hold out of training camp if he didn't get it; that Porter would have struggled to make the switch to the 4-3 defense under new coach Mike Tomlin; that Porter's likely replacement, James Harrison, will emerge as the latest Pittsburgh linebacker to thrive.
    More troubling, there's rampant talk in NFL circles that Porter, who turns 30 this week, is somehow finished as an elite player. Critics point to a disappointing 2006 season in which Porter, who missed two games, made 55 tackles -- his lowest total since his rookie season -- along with seven sacks and a pair of interceptions.
    Two of those sacks and a game-clinching interception for touchdown (after which Porter planted that memorable kiss on then-Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher) came against Miami in the season opener, which undoubtedly helped convince the Dolphins to give Porter a $12 million signing bonus -- $3 million more than the Steelers have paid any player.
    Somehow we're supposed to believe Porter went from being an elite player in September to being washed up by December, when the Steelers' disappointing season ended with an 8-8 record?
    Right, and Cowher forgot how to coach, too.
    "No way," Hines Ward, the Steelers' All-Pro receiver, said in a phone interview on Monday. "Joey was good last year, too. His role was dropping into coverage a lot, which may not have been what he was accustomed to. So, predictably, his numbers went down. But there are still a lot of good years left in Joey."
    Miami, looking for its first playoff berth since 2001, is betting big that Ward is right. With two aging stars, linebacker Zach Thomas and defensive end Jason Taylor, gearing up for a final push, Porter will infuse Dom Capers' hybrid 3-4 scheme with passion, energy and playmaking ability.
    As great as Taylor was last season, when he won his first Defensive Player of the Year award, there were too many occasions on which it appeared he and Thomas were playing with a completely different level of intensity than their teammates. Now that Porter is in town, with apologies to Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel, the Dolphins will "go to 11."
    Says Porter: "I can be that loose cannon, as long as I'm a controlled loose cannon. Nobody's gonna come out and push us around -- I can promise you that."
    Ward believes Porter's intensity will be tougher to replace than his sacks, interceptions and forced fumbles. "It's shocking that they let him go," Ward says, "because he was really the emotional leader, the guy who brought out the best in a lot of players. That's why so many veterans -- Alan Faneca, James Farrior and others -- called me when they heard he was released. We were all shocked.
    "You can always replace players, but you can't always replace leaders. That's what we lose more than anything. It was tough when we lost Jerome (Bettis) before last year, and then we lost Coach Cowher. Now we lose Joey Porter? It's gonna be different."
    Football is an emotional game, one that requires players to put aside logic -- for example, disregarding thoughts like "Why am I thrusting my body into the path of a charging 250-pounder at full speed?" -- for the benefit of those around them. Porter, like Lott before him, is one of those rare players capable of bringing out that maniacal zeal in others. As with Lott, Porter's words carry weight because he is the craziest, most committed man on the field.
    And when a player like this has his abilities questioned and his pride wounded -- look out.
    Do you think it was insignificant to Porter that, shortly after his release, Dolphins general manager Randy Mueller and first-year coach Cam Cameron showed up in Bakersfield, Calif., to recruit him? They were playing to his wounded pride, and smartly so. Suddenly, Porter once again felt coveted and appreciated, which is one reason (along with the money, of course) that he canceled a scheduled visit to Cincinnati and signed with Miami.
    The Steelers, in electing to cheap out when it came to taking care one of their most important players -- not an uncommon occurrence in Pittsburgh over the years -- may have saved some money. But Porter, it says here, will make them pay in other ways.
    "For some reason they don't like to pay their own in Pittsburgh," says Porter, who insists he's not bitter toward the Steelers. "I knew that coming in when I watched all those great linebackers get shipped out of there. They draft you, they groom you, but when it comes time to pay, they let you go.
    "A lot of my teammates know I brought more than just what you saw on the football field. I brought a mentality. And now, I have a chance to bring that to Miami. A new opportunity brings new challenges. And I'm fired up."
    I just think he got a raw deal No so much as an offer
    "It is hard to wait around for something that you know may never happen;but it's even harder to let go when it's everything you want"
    -unknown

  2. #2
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    "No way," Hines Ward, the Steelers' All-Pro receiver, said in a phone interview on Monday. "Joey was good last year, too. His role was dropping into coverage a lot, which may not have been what he was accustomed to. So, predictably, his numbers went down. But there are still a lot of good years left in Joey."
    Everybody on here knows my stance on Porter and how I think he got a bumb rap, and how we should have atleast tried to keep him, how we should have let Haggans go instead, how we'll miss his leadership on this team, etc.


    Here is yet another statement by one of Joey's former teammates telling everyone what kind of player he is and what he meant to our team. The 'phins are getting a helluva LB with some good years left in him. Everybody who keeps writing these articles, even for the local Pittsburgh media is talking about Joey losing a step, doesn't have any good years left, not the same player he was before, When your former teammates stand up for you and wonder why you were let go in the first place, that says something.

    I support the Steelers thru and thru, no matter what I bleed black n gold forever no matter who is playing...but damn letting Porter go was just the wrong move. Had they atleast offered him a deal and he turned it down, then it's a bit of a different story, but to not even offer the dude a contract after all he's done for you, is pretty low IMO. Im not saying he would have stayed for what we offered him, maybe he would have and maybe he wouldn't have, but letting him go without even trying is a cop out if you ask me. You didn't see players all over the team speaking out when Gildon was let go and he's one of the best LB's we've had in recent history. It just shows how much he's (Porter) meant to our team. Players understand it's a business, but when you preach loyalty and fairness as an organization you should practice it all the time, not some of the time. If they had offered him a deal for a reasonable amount and he turned it down, then so be it, completely understandable but in this case they didn't try at all. Who cares if you thought he might hold out, if you really thought that, then offer him a deal and if he turns it down, then just let him go.
    Last edited by BlitzburghRockCity; 03-17-2007 at 12:54 PM.

  3. #3
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    He comes out of this smelling like roses...and the FO smells like yesterday's kitty litter.

  4. #4
    Satan's Helper SteelersfaninPhilly's Avatar
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    Porter is gone good riddance and more then a few people are saying he has nothing left in the tank.


    http://americanat.blogspot.com/

    I'm blind, I'm deaf, I wanna be a ref! Get on your knees ref your blowing the game!





    Big thank you to pa state Daryl Metcalfe. For doing the right thing.







  5. #5
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Well sure, lots of people say he's lost a step..in fact most of the media articles we've all read say that..but it's funny how former players come to his side in a case like this when in previous years there wasn't near the uproar and media coverage surrounding our LB's leaving as there is with Porter.

    Joey was far from perfect, nobody in the league is, but in a case like this I think the FO screwed up in not atleast "trying" to keep him.

    It makes no sense to keep like this because we all won't agree on it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    Well sure, lots of people say he's lost a step..in fact most of the media articles we've all read say that..but it's funny how former players come to his side in a case like this when in previous years there wasn't near the uproar and media coverage surrounding our LB's leaving as there is with Porter.

    Joey was far from perfect, nobody in the league is, but in a case like this I think the FO screwed up in not atleast "trying" to keep him.

    It makes no sense to keep like this because we all won't agree on it.
    all the wannabe know it alls who say joey lost a step are probably the same ones who applauded the rooneys giving gildon a huge extension. they just dont want to get burnt and look like fools twice.

    they forget that we did the EXACT same thing miami did when we brought in a 30 year OLD kevin green. he led the league in sacks with the steelers. but then he got old, and lost a step, and his sack totals dropped to 9, and we let him go at the ancient age of 33 because he thought he was worth more than the steelers did.

    what did he do? he joined DOM CAPERS with the panthers and led the league in sacks once again! in the 4 years he played after leaving the steelers at the over the hill age of 33 he had 52 sacks.

    keving green
    yr....age............gp...sacks
    1993 31 PIT NFL 16 12.5
    1994 32 PIT NFL 16 14.0
    1995 33 PIT NFL 16 9.0
    1996 34 CAR NFL 16 14.5
    1997 35 SFO NFL 14 10.5
    1998 36 CAR NFL 15 15.0
    1999 37 CAR NFL 16 12.0
    now i dont know if porter will go on to rack up 86 sacks after turning 30 like green did but im not dumb enought to act like i know like all these column writers and haters. but if i had to put mney on it, i would say porter and taylor are more likely to look like the 2nd coming of lloyd and green, than porter is to fizzle out. i cant wait. that capers defense is gonna bring back some great memories of some excellent steelers pass rush.

    dont hate, appreciate!

  7. #7
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    Excellent Post

    Great research! I am amongst the fans that thought Porter was an asset not a liability. His play coupled with his overall team leadership was worth trying to keep him. Its the other OLB that I would have liked to see sent packing! He is set to make over 4 mil this year (Haggans). Wouldn't it have made sense to cut him and use some of that to bump up Porters salary? Haggans has never been one of our big playmakers. He is average at best. I was hoping they kept Porter and replaced Haggans with James Harrison. If they would have done that whoever this rookie is that they draft could have been eased into the line-up very gradually. Now we will most likely fill Porters spot with Harrison and we will still have the weak link on the other side! Go figure.
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_082009/home.parcoltop11.35513.ImageFile.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    ...Had they atleast offered him a deal and he turned it down, then it's a bit of a different story...but in this case they didn't try at all. Who cares if you thought he might hold out, if you really thought that, then offer him a deal and if he turns it down, then just let him go.
    This "didn't try at all" speaks exactly to why I think they didn't make an offer.

    I get the feeling Mike didn't think he would mesh well with Joey--for at least two reasons. First, as we all know, Joey was a "Cowher guy". Second, Joey had a big mouth. Most of us fans liked Joey for that exact reason--but Mike's said things that leads me to believe that he DOESN'T like it.

    I don't think Mike will regret for one moment letting Joey go without an offer--he doesn't think he's worth all the problems he'd have with him.

  9. #9
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    Does anyone honestly think that Porter would have restructured his deal to take less money? We all know he was griping about not getting paid enough last year so why would the Steelers put an offer on the table knowing full well that he was going to reject it. The Steelers FO didn't want to give him the pleasure of turning down a deal IMO!

  10. #10
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    Last year, I would have said that Joey wouldnt take less than 5 million a year to stay, but this year honestly I don't know. Maybe he would have, maybe not. Perhaps the bad season we had last year was even more of a motivator for him to help this team get back to the SB again before he retires. It's anybody's guess but what disturbs me is that we didn't even try to offer him a deal. The dude is a pro bowler, a team leader, and loved by everyone yet you let him go without so much as a hey here's an offer will you stay with us ?

    If Tomlin doesn't like rah rah, screamin, yelling, motivational leaders like Porter then this team is in trouble because our players are used to having that presence on the field. Somebody to look up too, to get them torqued up for the game. It's human nature for athletes in the NFL to need that mental edge of getting pissed off and ready to play a big game. Whether you're a player who just goes about his business quietly or gets fired up and throws chairs while banging your head into the locker, they all need something and Porter was a leader for all of them regardless of their style.

    I'd hate to see us turn into a team with no emotion...

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