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Old 05-23-2006, 08:07 AM   #1
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Default Joey Porter Knee Surgery & No show at Voluntary Workouts

Porter a no-show for voluntary workouts
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Joey Porter missed the first week of the Steelers' voluntary workouts, and now the question is whether he will participate in any of them.

Porter, a Pro Bowl linebacker, attended the team's mandatory three-day minicamp May 13-15 but was the only veteran absent from all four of their follow-up voluntary sessions last week at their UPMC training facility on the South Side.

Those sessions, among 14 scheduled through June 8, resume today.

His agent, Jeff Sperbeck, declined to comment yesterday on whether Porter will return to Pittsburgh to work out with his teammates or if he planned to show up for the start of training camp July 28. Porter lives in Bakersfield, Calif.

"The Steelers are aware of Joey's situation," Sperbeck said from his office in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Porter, 29, has two years left on a contract he signed in February 2004. He is scheduled to earn a salary of $3.85 million this year, and earn $5 million in 2007, which includes a $1 million roster bonus.

Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett said coach Bill Cowher was aware that Porter would miss last week's sessions and emphasized that the workouts are "voluntary." However, virtually every player has participated in those drills the past several years, a trend throughout the NFL. Last year, halfback Duce Staley attended minicamp but missed some of the spring workouts to be with his ailing father in South Carolina.

Receiver Plaxico Burress skipped minicamp and the rest of the spring workouts two years ago as he entered the final year of his contract with the Steelers. He reported to training camp on time. He then signed with the New York Giants last year as a free agent. Receiver Hines Ward, entering his final contract season a year ago, attended all of the club's spring workouts last year and then held out the first two weeks of training camp, but he reported and signed a contract extension before the season began.

The Steelers have a publicly stated policy that they will not extend a player's contract when he has more than one year left. Exceptions were made for quarterbacks, most notably Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox. They also have reworked many contracts with players to create room under their salary cap without costing the players money.

Porter did not complain about his contract publicly during the Steelers' minicamp nor did he mention anything about plans to miss upcoming workouts. He even joked with reporters about meeting President Bush during the Steelers' planned June 2 visit to the White House.

He also said he would gladly accept the role of team leader that Jerome Bettis said would fit him well.

"I'm ready to fill that role," Porter told the Post-Gazette on May 13.

"I asked Jerome for the blueprint a long time ago. If you're going to learn, why not learn from the best? I watched Jerome. I saw how he handled himself. He got along with everybody. You can't just think about the guys on your unit. You have to be there for everybody. I think I can be that guy. I'll be there for all my guys, setting the tempo. Even the kickers."

Porter, one of the Steelers' captains since 2003, led all NFL linebackers last season with 101/2 sacks and made his third Pro Bowl team. His 53 career sacks rank sixth all-time for the Steelers, half a sack behind Greg Lloyd. A third-round draft choice from Colorado State in 1999, Porter became the team's starting right outside linebacker in 2000
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: Porter a no-show for voluntary workouts

First Hines Ward is accurately quoted on Cowher not showing him sufficient respect, then last week the story was a number of vets being overweight. Now self-proclaimed "team leader" Joey Porter blows off workouts in an obvious ploy to renegotiate with 2 years left on his contract.

As Cowher has said, this team was not the best throughout the season last year and happened to play its best ball in January. IMO the current team attitude is a little too fat and happy.

There had better be an attitude adjustment starting right now.
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: Porter a no-show for voluntary workouts

It' NOT a big deal.
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: Porter a no-show for voluntary workouts

A few observations and opinions:

First off, the paper never stated a reason why Porter is deciding not to attend voluntary workouts.

Second, what I found interesting was that Dave Lockett "emphasized that the workouts are voluntary". That tells me that it may not be a contract dispute or personal reasons, but that Porter just doesn't feel like attending the workouts. That's just an assumption.

Third, IF it's not personal reasons, does anybody feel that if your "ready to fill that role", you should be at the workouts? Mandatory or voluntary.

Just curious of everybody's opinions. I'm not stating he's in the wrong or right as of now. I would like to wait and see how the situation pans out and more importantly, the reasons why it's occuring.
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: Porter a no-show for voluntary workouts

Joey still has two years left on his current deal and really doesn't have any leverage cards against the Steelers to play "Extend My Contract Poker".
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Porter a no-show for voluntary workouts

My bet is Porter remembers how Jason Gildon ended up and knows that, given the productivity of an outside linebacker in the 3-4 after he enters his early 30s, he will not be re-upping with the Steelers after 2007.

Burress was torched for missing the "voluntary" workouts 2 years ago when everyone knew he was a self-centered egomaniac - Porter is not entitled to any better treatment.

If Porter wants to be a team leader and talk the talk he needs to walk the walk.

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Old 05-23-2006, 09:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Porter a no-show for voluntary workouts

lets hope hes holding out for a lower, more cap friendly, hometown discounted contract extension. definitely setting a bad example for the younger players. i bet harrisons licking his chops. porter has got to know the steelers will replace him so i dont wanna think hes doing this for more money, although he is probably a top 5 or 10 backer in the league. he should get teddi bruschi as his agent
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Old 05-23-2006, 10:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: Porter a no-show for voluntary workouts

He's looking for the Chad Scott deal, but the Steelers don't offer that one anymore.
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Old 05-23-2006, 11:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Porter a no-show for voluntary workouts

if he wanted to be a team leader than he should attend the "voluntary" practices to show the younger players where there head should be. I think Ben or Ward would be ideal team leaders.
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Old 05-23-2006, 01:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Porter a no-show for voluntary workouts

Man, i hope no drama unfolds like last season.
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