Unhappy Homecoming

When you and your new team are playing like garbage, it's tough to talk trash. Although chatty Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter is coming off his best two games in Miami with 13 tackles, his sacks and tackle figures aren't close to the numbers he put up during his previous eight seasons in Pittsburgh, when he earned three trips to the Pro Bowl.

Even worse, his current team is an embarrassing 0-10, while his former team is 7-3, despite coming off a lackluster effort against the now 2-8 Jets in which they managed just 151 passing yards and saw quarterback Ben Roethlisberger get sacked seven times.

Porter is one of two players in NFL history to have at least 60 sacks and 10 interceptions, but unfortunately for the winless Dolphins, who gave him a $32 million deal, including $20 million guaranteed, he is averaging fewer than four tackles a game and has just 1.5 sacks. Instead of fortifying last year's fourth-ranked Dolphins defense, he's helped bring it down to its current 20th rank.

"It's been humbling in so many different ways," said Porter, who is preparing to face many of his former teammates on "Monday Night Football." "Obviously, I'm not going to be walking into the game under the same circumstances as I thought I'd be walking under. I thought I'd be walking in and we'd be about (8-2), they'd be about (8-2), and it would be a blockbuster.

"So I can't be the same guy I thought I was going to be out there on that day, but I can still come ready to play.

"I can't go out there talking all this mess. ... Now, when I do, they say just look at the score."

Steelers linebacker Larry Foote knows that while Porter won't have much ammunition, he will still come out yapping Monday.

"I don't know if Joey's got that much firepower with them being 0-10, but I'm quite sure he's going to come out and do a lot of trash-talking," Foote said. "He wants to prove to them he can still play and have a great game in Heinz Field.

"Joey is fired up on Sundays, and he'll say anything. If anybody has something happening in the news, or gets into some domestic violence (incident), he's going to tell you about it all during the game."

Porter realizes that he's not living up to they hype that accompanied his arrival in Miami.

"I don't really worry about stats because it's going to happen, but we sit here losing," Porter said. "We're (0-10), you're the big free agent coming to the team, and the numbers are not there. 'Man, we signed Joey Porter to this big deal, here he is we're (0-10), he made what 1.5 sacks all year, what the hell is this?' That's what the average fan or person is looking at the team.

"I could only do what I'm asked to do. The scheme I came from is totally different. ... I blitzed a lot. ... We just run a different scheme over here. I'm learning to adapt to that. I got to make the plays when I have the opportunities. I can't leave it out there on the field. I got to make it. That's just plain and simple."


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