Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Joey Porter will turn up the volume
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- The volume just got turned up at Steelers headquarters, and that can only be a good thing for a team that has missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.
Joey Porter is returning to the organization as an entry-level assistant coach whose responsibilities have not been defined -- at least publicly -- by the Steelers.
It doesn’t matter.
Just having Porter in the building should restore some swagger and attitude to a defense that could use a little of both after giving up too many big plays in 2013 and recording too few sacks, Porter’s specialty when he played for the Steelers from 1999 to 2006.
Porter, only two seasons removed from his playing career, has relatively little coaching experience. His hiring is a curious one considering Mike Tomlin had a voice in the organization releasing Porter in 2007, less than two months after the Steelers hired Tomlin to succeed Bill Cowher.
The Steelers saved $6 million by releasing Porter, and they had James Harrison ready to play right outside linebacker at a significantly lower price. But what also sealed Porter’s playing fate in Pittsburgh is that a 34-year-old first-time head coach probably needed to get Porter out of the Steelers’ locker room to make it his own.
That is how dominant of a personality Porter was when he played for the Steelers.
Loud, profane, sometimes politically incorrect, Porter’s was the mouth that roared and stirred a defense that helped the Steelers win a fifth Super Bowl title in 2005.
Teammates fell in line behind him like no other player with maybe the exception of James Farrior, who was ice to Porter’s raging fire.
Porter will now be on a different side than the players, some of whom were his teammates and know him as "J Peezy."
But his fierce will to win should serve him as well as a coach, and Porter will add raw emotion to a veteran coaching staff that could use a little of it.
Turning up the volume a little could be just what the Steelers need following back-to-back 8-8 seasons.