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Thoughts on Porter and 'Character Issues'

Oh Joey. I'm not going to say we didn't used to appreciate you or value having you on our team during our historic Super Bowl run. But what a perfect time to part ways. Just a few short days after being signed with the Miami Dolphins, Porter was busted in Las Vegas assaulting OT Levi Jones. A court date has been set for May 14th , but don't expect the bad blood between Jones and Porter to end in the courtoom that day.

Video surveillance caught Porter punching Jones before his enterage jumped in. Porter didn't leave it to his cronies exclusively though; he jumped back in for more physiciality after the situation had clearly gotten out of hand.

Let's hear one quote from Porter before moving on and talking about 'character issues' and the Steelers organization:

I'm married with four kids. I had no business even putting myself in a situation like that. I was actually down there for my mother's 50th birthday. I've been embarrassed since the whole thing happened. It's nothing I can take back. I don't know how Levi views the situation. I'm too old for this type of stuff. So I'm going to stay away from the off-the-field incidents.'

Nice Joey, say you're too 'old and mature' for these types of things after signing a huge contract with gobs of guaranteed money. Real sincere.

But, despite Porter's sad excuse and the fact that the Steelers will probably be allright without that type of overbearing influence on the team, let me say this: in this day and age, 'character issues' mean far less than they did prior to the days of free agency. Yes the Titans are in a bind beacuse of the delinquency of Pacman Jones, but that's an extreme example. Most teams deal with players with attitude problems on a yearly basis and find ways to get by despite them.

In today's NFL with free agent signings as ridiculous as they are, you simply can't expect a star performer to stick around a single franchise for his entire career. Only the most elite of players--the Mannings, the Bradys, the LTs--seemingly get paid enough each contract negotiation to stick around. The rest, perhaps rightly so, go where the money is best.

That used to not be the case in Steeler country...say circa 1975. But today, you don't have to draft players with the expectation that they'll be around for the entirety of their careers. Instead, you hope to extract as much as possible from them, then decide if their performance is meritorious of a mega contract. If you decide no, there will be another team ready to overpay for his services.

That was the case with Porter. It's not that we couldn't put up with his antics. It's just we weren't willing to pay as much as the Dolphins were willing to despite his obvious baggage, not to mention the fact that he is on the downside of his career.

This is relevant beacuse the Steelers very well may have the opportunity to pick a phenomenal athlete like a Jarvis Moss with thier first pick, who may not necessarily fit the prototypical mold of a 'true Steeler.' That's ok I argue. Let's get 3-5 good years out of a rookie, and if he's a pain in the ass or commands too much on the open market when his first contract expires...so be it.

We've got many of the pieces in place to make a run now. I'd hate for us to not compliment our core because we're weary of whether he's got the internal makeup and attitude to be a life-long Steeler. For better or worse, there are simply just not going to be as many players who spend their entire careers in the Steel City.

I just hope we're cognizant of this reality and not let it affect our judgment during the draft.

Agree? Disagree?