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Joey Porter

This article is about the linebacker. For the similarly named Oakland Raiders cornerback, see Joe Porter (American football).
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Porter with the Steelers in 2006.
Pittsburgh Steelers
Position: Outside Linebacker's Coach
Personal information
Date of birth: (1977-03-22) March 22, 1977 (age 38)
Place of birth: Kansas City, Missouri
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Career information
College: Colorado State
NFL draft: 1999 / Round: 3 / Pick: 73
Career history

As player:

As coach:

Career highlights and awards
Career Template:If empty statistics
Tackles: 672
Quarterback sacks: 98.0
Interceptions: 12
Stats at
Stats at

Joseph Eugene Porter (born March 22, 1977) is a retired NFL linebacker who played for thirteen seasons and is the current outside linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. After playing college football for Colorado State, he was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Porter earned a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers in Super Bowl XL. He played for the Miami Dolphins from 2007 to 2009 and the Arizona Cardinals from 2010 to 2011.

Early years

Porter's prep career took place at Foothill High School in Bakersfield, California. He was a two-time All-Conference selection as wide receiver and running back for the Trojans. His senior season, he led the team to a 9–2 mark and a berth in the sectional playoffs, rushing the ball 86 times for 1,086 yards. After his final season at Foothill, he was named to the All-Section and All-State teams. He lettered twice in football, plus twice in basketball. He also played soccer as a youth.

Porter has never moved from his hometown and ran a youth football camp at Foothill throughout his career.

College career

While attending Colorado State University, Porter was a standout on the football field for the Colorado State Rams football team. He began his college career as an H-back and did not see his first action on the defensive line until his junior year. He was a third-team All-American and All-Western Athletic Conference first-team selection by The Sports Network. He registered 22 career sacks. As a senior, he recorded 53 tackles (36 solos) with eight quarterback pressures and 12 tackles for losses of 67 yards. He finished third in NCAA Division I-A with a school single-season record-tying 15 sacks for minus 63 yards. He majored in exercise and sport science.

Professional career

Pittsburgh Steelers

Porter was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round (73 overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. During the preseason, Porter wore number 95, the first Steelers to wear the number since Steelers linebacker great Greg Lloyd was released following the 1997 season. However, despite his similarities to Lloyd in terms of playing style and vocal leadership (or perhaps because of it), Porter changed his jersey number to 55 just before the start of the regular season in order to develop his own identity. He also took 55 in honor of his childhood hero, Junior Seau.

He finished the preseason as the team's leading tackler, compiling 22 total tackles, including 18 solo stops. He also registered a team-high four sacks and forced a fumble. He went on to excel on special teams during the regular season, with his time on defense increasing as the year went on. His first career sack came on Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch on September 12, when he also forced a fumble on the play. He partially deflected a punt against the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 2. In the season finale against the Tennessee Titans, Porter accumulated six tackles and a sack. He also forced and recovered a Neil O'Donnell fumble and returned it 46 yards for a score.

In 2000, Porter finished second behind Jason Gildon and set a career high with 10.5 sacks on the year. He and Gildon also tied a franchise record with 24 sacks as a duo. On the year, he registered 74 tackle (51 solo), one interception, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He was voted the AFC Defensive Player of the Month in October. Against the Cincinnati Bengals on October 15, he registered eight tackles (seven solo), three sacks including one for a safety, four quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. He had five tackles and two sacks in a game against the Baltimore Ravens two games later. Porter's first career interception came against the Tennessee Titans on November 5 on a pass from Steve McNair. His second career touchdown came on a 32-yard fumble recovery against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 12. He closed out the season with 1.5 sacks against the San Diego Chargers on December 24.

During the September 17th game against the rival Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, Porter tackled punter Chris Gardocki while Gardocki was trying to punt the ball. While Porter would be penalized for roughing the punter, Gardocki briefly laid motionless, then subsequently flipped the middle finger twice to Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. The incident, caught on live television, resulted in a $5,000 fine for Gardocki.[1] The two would later be teammates with the Steelers from 2004-2006.

Porter had a career day against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 21, 2001, recording six tackles, four sacks and a pass deflected while earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Two weeks later he registered four tackles and two sacks against the Baltimore Ravens. He missed the season finale against the Cleveland Browns - the first time he failed to play in his NFL career - due to a shoulder injury. Porter finished with 59 tackles and nine sacks on the season.

In Week 2 of the 2002 season, Porter had what is likely the best game of his professional career. In a 30–17 loss to the Oakland Raiders on September 15, Porter racked up seven tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and two passes defensed. The performance, during which he returned one interceptions 84 yards, earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. He recorded five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in a 34-7 blowout against the Cincinnati Bengals on October 13. On the year, Porter had nine sacks - the third straight year of eclipsing the mark - while setting career highs in tackles (88), interceptions (4) and interception return yards (153). He was selected to his first Pro Bowl following the season.

In 2003, Porter recorded the lowest sack total of his career since his rookie year, while missing two games due to a gunshot wound on August 31, 2003 outside of a Denver bar, just before the beginning of the season. He recorded a sack and recovered a fumble in his first game back against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 21. On October 26 against the St. Louis Rams, he had six tackles, a pass defense and two sacks—his only multiple-sack game of the year. In 14 games played, Porter totaled 65 tackles, five sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and four passes defensed.

File:Joey Porter 2006.jpg
Porter during a Steelers game in 2006

Porter bounced back in 2004 with the second Pro Bowl selection of his career. In an October 31 win against the New England Patriots, Porter had four tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. He was selected the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance. He recorded two sacks against the Washington Redskins on November 28, and had his lone interception of the season on December 26 on a pass from Baltimore Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller. He finished the year with 53 tackles, seven sacks and an interception.

On November 14 against the Browns in Cleveland, Porter and Browns running back William Green were both ejected prior to kickoff due to a pregame fight. Porter's backup, James Harrison (who would ultimately replace Porter in the starting lineup after Porter left Pittsburgh), would get his first NFL start in place of Porter.

Porter had one of his best years in 2005 as his team went on to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. Porter was named to the third Pro Bowl of his career and the second in two years. On the year, he tied a career high with 10.5 sacks while adding 56 tackles, two interceptions and four forced fumbles. He recorded a sack in four of the team's first five games of the season. In a 41-0 blowout win over the Cleveland Browns on December 24, Porter had five tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble.

In what would be his final year as a member of the Steelers, Porter had what many would consider a down year. He recorded 7 sacks on the year, but six of them came in three games against the mediocre offensive lines of the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the other half sack came against the Cleveland Browns. In the season opener against the Miami Dolphins, he intercepted a Daunte Culpepper pass in the fourth quarter and returned it for his first interception touchdown to seal a victory. He missed two contests in October while nursing a hamstring injury. Porter finished the year with 55 tackles and 7 sacks.

Miami Dolphins

With the Steelers in transition under new head coach Mike Tomlin, the team released Porter on March 1, 2007 in lieu of paying him a $1 million roster bonus. He received immediate interest from a handful of teams, including Pittsburgh's three division rivals—the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. The Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and San Diego Chargers were also in the mix, but it came down to the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins. After Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron and general manager Randy Mueller flew to Porter's home in owner Wayne Huizenga's jet[citation needed], Porter was persuaded to sign with the Dolphins.

Porter was officially signed by the Dolphins on March 8, 2007. He received a five-year deal worth approximately $32 million. The deal includes a $12 million signing bonus and $8 million in guaranteed money.[2] He immediately clinched the starting strong side linebacker, playing opposite Jason Taylor—the 2006 Defensive Player of the Year. Porter struggled during the 2007 season, amassing only 5.5 sacks, his lowest total since 2003.

The 2008-2009 season saw a rejuvenated Porter return to his old indomitable form, leading the AFC and finishing second in the NFL with a career-high 17.5 sacks; thus, Porter played an integral role in metamorphosing the 1-15 Dolphins of 2007-2008 into an 11-5 AFC East champion football team. Porter has since been rewarded for his strong play and award-worthy revival by earning his fourth Pro Bowl and was named 2nd Team All-Pro.

File:2009 Miami Dolphins team captains.jpg
Porter (#55) with fellow 2009 Dolphins team captains Chad Pennington, Jason Taylor and Jason Ferguson.

Porter started for the Dolphins at outside linebacker in 2009 and was named a team captain. In a poll of 296 NFL players, Porter tied Washington's Albert Haynesworth as the second dirtiest defensive player in the league. During week 9, Porter took heat from the press after calling out the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and leaving the game after recording zero tackles and avoiding the press.

The next week, Porter was suspended for one game by Dolphins coach Tony Sparano for undisclosed reasons. He was released on March 5, 2010.

Arizona Cardinals

On March 19, 2010, Joey Porter signed a three-year, $24.5 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, with $17.5 million in guaranteed money.[3] In his first season with the Cardinals, he put up 50 tackles and five sacks. In 2011, he only played six games due to injury, recording 16 tackles and one sack.

On March 28, 2010, Porter was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and assault on a California Highway Patrol officer.[4] It was later announced that all charges were dropped.[5]


On July 19, 2012, Porter announced he would retire from the NFL. Porter had talked to Steelers owner Art Rooney II and GM Kevin Colbert about signing a one-day contract so that he could "have the honor" of retiring as a Pittsburgh Steeler.

On August 3, 2012, Porter was officially retired as a Pittsburgh Steeler during the evening festivities of the Steelers Training Camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.

On December 24, 2012, Porter was freed from jail after three days for writing a bad check. He paid $70,000 to cover the check to the Hard Rock Casino for "casino markers" given to him in June and July, 2012.[6] In March, 2013, news outlets reported that Porter's South Florida mansion was facing foreclosure.[7][8] On July 31, 2013 Colorado State coach Jim McElwain announced that Porter would join Colorado State's coaching staff; he will also finish his degree at CSU.


Joey Porter served as a defensive assistant under former Steeler's defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau, for the 2014 Steelers season. In February 2015, Porter was promoted to outside linebackers coach under new defensive coordinator, Keith Butler.[9]

NFL stats

Year Team Games Combined Tackles Tackles Assisted Tackles Sacks Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries Interceptions
1999 PIT 16 13 10 3 2.0 2 2 0
2000 PIT 16 59 41 18 10.5 2 1 1
2001 PIT 15 59 45 14 9.0 4 1 0
2002 PIT 16 88 60 28 9.0 2 2 4
2003 PIT 14 65 50 15 5.0 1 0 0
2004 PIT 15 53 36 17 7.0 3 0 1
2005 PIT 16 56 39 17 10.5 4 1 2
2006 PIT 14 55 40 15 7.0 0 0 2
2007 MIA 16 65 56 9 5.5 1 0 2
2008 MIA 16 47 36 11 17.5 4 1 0
2009 MIA 14 41 34 7 9.0 1 1 0
2010 ARI 14 50 38 12 5.0 2 0 0
2011 ARI 6 16 11 5 1.0 0 0 0
Career 188 667 496 171 98.0 26 9 12


  1. ^ "Page 2: Bird is the word", 
  2. ^ Bouchette, Ed (March 7, 2007), "Porter, Dolphins reach agreement", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, retrieved March 8, 2007 
  3. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Arizona Cardinals' Joey Porter arrested on suspicion of drunken driving". Associated Press. March 28, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  5. ^ "Porter won't face DUI charges". ESPN. March 31, 2010. Retrieved April 02, 2010.
  6. ^ Associated Press (2012-12-24). "Joey Porter freed from jail after paying $70K casino debt". National Football League. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  7. ^ Smith, Michael. "Joey Porter faces foreclosure on Miami Home". NBC Sports. 
  8. ^ Miami Sun Sentinel  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Wilkening, Mike. "Steelers name Joey Porter, Jerry Olsavsky to coach linebacker corps". Pro Football Talk. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  10. ^ "Joey Porter Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 

External links