I was looking at the Arizona Cardinals' depth chart this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see that our old friend, Joey Porter, was still starting at right outside linebacker and will be playing against his old team this coming Sunday when the Steelers travel to the desert to take on his current team.
After Greg Lloyd and before James Harrison, there was Joey Porter. In his eight years with the Steelers (1999-2006), Porter recorded 60 career sacks to go along with 10 interceptions and three touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl four times and stood out as an inspirational and vocal team leader.
He was a very unique character that is fondly remembered for not only his play on the field, but for his entertaining antics.
As crazy and controverisal as Porter could be during his time in Pittsburgh, I never got the feeling that he was as intense as a Lloyd or Harrison. In-fact, near the end of the 2005 season, I started attending tapings of the "Joey Porter show" that Peezy co-hosted with old teammate Chris Hope and local television personality Jon Burton.
The show was taped at the Firehouse Lounge in the Strip District every Tuesday night during the 2005 season.
While doing the show, Porter was witty, fun-loving and very engaging with the fans. He always stayed around afterwards to sign autographs, take pictures and just mingle with the crowd.
During a taping of the show a couple of days after a big win in Minnesota, Porter was re-living an argument he had with someone from the Vikings prior to the game and accidentally dropped an f-bomb. This was during a break in taping, and Porter endeared himself to the crowd by laughing about it and apologizing.
As much as Porter accomplished during his time with the Steelers, the thing that sticks out most to me was his play during the final eight games of the 2005 season when the Steelers overcame some long-odds and made their improbable march to their first championship in 26 years. Porter was never more entertaining and clutch than during that crucial eight-game stretch, recording 7 1/2 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.
I remember watching the NFL Films highlights of the Steelers' Wild card win in Cincinnati, and they showed Porter sitting on the bench and breathing into an oxygen mask as he said, "whipping all this ass is making me tired." How can you not love a guy like that?
Before the Divisional game against the Colts, Porter made headlines for saying that Indianapolis was a finesse team, and if they were hit enough, they would give up. Well, Porter more than backed up his words by recording 1 1/2 sacks as he and the rest of the Steelers' defense manhandled Peyton Manning and company the entire game.
In the AFC Championship game in Denver, Porter set-up the Steelers' first touchdown by sacking Jake Plummer and forcing a fumble that was recovered by Casey Hampton.
Leading up to Super Bowl XL, Porter got into a war of words with Seahawks' tight end Jerramy Stevens after Stevens said Jerome Bettis would be leaving his hometown very disappointed following the game.
After the Steelers won the Super Bowl, Porter told Pittsburgh that he wanted the City to go all out. He wanted the parade and all the bells and whistles. Well, Pittsburgh more than obliged, as hundreds of thousands of Steelers fans turned out to thank Porter and Co. for finally giving Pittsburgh the long sought-after "One For The Thumb."
Who can forget the little peck on the cheek that Peezy gave former Coach Bill Cowher following Porter's game-clinching pick-six against the Dolphins in week one of the 2006 season?
Porter was released prior to the 2007 season and signed with Miami. Joey was back at Heinz Field later that year for a Monday Night game between the Steelers and Dolphins. Early in the game, Porter reminded Steelers fans of his talents by intercepting a pass from Ben Roethlisberger.
On the sideline after the play, Porter was shown screaming across the field at his old teammates, "you know you still love me!"
Yes, Peezy, all of Steeler Nation still loves you. Thanks for the awesome memories.
Just try not to have too much fun this week against your old team.