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Old 08-24-2005, 08:16 PM   #1
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Angry Is this Porters last year w/ the Steelers

Here is one writers perception..

The Steelers usually negotiate player contracts outside the glare of the media spotlight. Hines Ward has been one of the exceptions.
The four-time Pro Bowl receiver is trying to land a multi-year extension that will keep him with the Steelers for the rest of his career.

Ward even held out of training camp for 15 days to prove his point. But because the Steelers don't renegotiate with players who are under contract and not in camp, Ward came back.

Meanwhile nose tackle Casey Hampton quietly received a five-year, $22.75 million deal with a $6.975 million signing bonus without saying a word or making noise.

The Steelers feel the 2003 All-Pro is worth the money despite missing most of the 2004 season with a torn ACL.

The public wasn't aware of the Hampton talks - and that's how the Steelers like it.

Ward's new contract will get done before the start of the season amid much more fanfare and media attention.

He'll be sporting that trademark smile on the Heinz Field turf when the Steelers open the regular season against Tennessee.

And while the fans gear up for a possible run at the Super Bowl, the front office will be looking ahead to 2006. They'll say they aren't, but in today's NFL that's not possible.

Receiver Antwaan Randle El and defensive backs Deshea Townsend and Chris Hope will be unrestricted free agents. In recent years, the Steelers have made an effort to sign most of their "core" players such as Jerome Bettis, Alan Faneca, Jeff Hartings, Aaron Smith and Kimo von Oelhoffen.

Notice I didn't mention linebacker Joey Porter. Why? Because I think this is his last year in Pittsburgh.

Von Oelhoffen, Hartings and Bettis may all be gone from the team as well. Bettis likely will retire, while Hartings and von Oelhoffen are on the back side of 30 years old, which in today's NFL means salary cap casualty.

Porter is different. He'll be 29 when the 2006 season starts, which is considered to be the prime of his career, but he may not be worth the $5 million-plus the Steelers are paying him.

Two years ago, Porter was shot in the buttocks outside a Colorado sports bar. The incident was clearly not his fault, but he missed two games. In 14 games, Porter had 50 solo tackles and only five sacks - $1 million per sack.

The Steelers were one game away from the Super Bowl last season before losing to the Patriots and Porter was named to the Pro Bowl.

Yet he had just 53 tackles (36 solo), seven sacks and one interception in 2004. Four of those sacks came in the last 10 games of the season, including the playoffs. He had a three-sack game in a 34-20 win over New England on Oct. 31 and was ejected in Cleveland for getting into a pregame fight.

If you take away those two games, he had four sacks in the final 16 games.

I thought defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's scheme was supposed to help the linebackers.

In 12 of 17 starts, the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder didn't record a sack, and he makes too much money for those kinds of statistics.

Undrafted free agent James Harrison filled in for an injured Clark Haggans last year and did a good job. He's had a solid training camp this year and has solidified his position as the No. 3 outside linebacker.

Porter on the other hand injured his knee in practice Aug. 10 after celebrating a "sack" against rookie free-agent Ulish Booker. He had surgery the next day and vows to be ready for the start of the season.

The Steelers have options. They could draft an outside linebacker next spring or dip into the free agent market.

No matter what decision they make, Porter shouldn't be a part of it.
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