Porter rips Lewis

<b>PITTSBURGH - </b> Joey Porter didn't play in the Steelers' 34-15 victory over Baltimore at Heinz Field Sunday, but that didn't stop the Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis from going after the Steelers' injured star.

Porter, who missed Sunday's game after being shot last weekend in Denver, said Lewis began talking trash with him prior to kickoff and continued it through the game.

"I was talking to their special teams coach, Bennie Thompson, and Ray comes over and starts telling me how (Heinz Field) is his house," Porter said. "I took it as a personal insult. I told him, 'When your shoulder was hurt, you didn't see me dancing. When he went through his murder charges, I didn't say anything. Now, you're going to take a shot at me?' "

Lewis said he didn't mean Porter any disrespect and that he told him after the game that he was in his prayers.

Porter, however, wasn't buying it.

"He said that after, but you can't say that after the fact," Porter said. "I'm still recovering from a bullet wound and you're imitating me. Where's the courage in that? And then he says, 'You're in my prayers.' Which one is it? Are you going to make fun of me, or are you going to say I'm in your prayers? You can't have it both ways. He got exactly what he deserved, a beating."

Lewis was credited with four solo tackles and five assists, but was largely a non-factor in his first game back after missing the final 11 games of last season with a shoulder injury. He was also charged with murder a few years in the stabbing death of a man after a post-Super Bowl street fight in Atlanta. Lewis was exonerated of any charges, but saw his image take a hit.

"I couldn't believe he took a shot at me like that," Porter said. "He went through some things before. I'm a dirty guy, I could have easily said stuff like, 'Watch out ref, I think he's got a knife.' Stuff like that. But I didn't. I could have played with him being hurt. But that was life stuff he was going through. I'm not that type of guy. But for him to make fun of me while I'm hurt, that's wrong."

That Porter was able to attend Sunday's game and stand on his own on the sideline with his teammates was something of an inspiration to them. Porter was one of six people shot outside of a Denver bar last Sunday, one of whom died. Porter, who was shot in the buttocks, had the bullet removed Monday and is out two to eight weeks, depending on how the wound heals.

"We were saying our prayer before the game and I looked up and he was in tears," said wide receiver Plaxico Burress. "You could tell he wanted to be out there so badly."

Porter was replaced in the starting lineup by Clark Haggans, who had five solo tackles, four assists, a sack and a forced fumble.

"All of the linebackers wore towels with (Porter's number) 55 on them," said Haggans, who was also a teammate of Porter's in college at Colorado State.

"His presence wasn't forgotten. It was out there on the field with us."

In fact, Lewis wasn't the only player to mimic Porter's trademark kick after a big play.

After nearly sacking Ravens' rookie quarterback Kyle Boller and forcing him into a bad throw early in the game, defensive end Aaron Smith did the kick and pointed to Porter on the sideline. "He's just such a big part of this defense," said Smith. "It was just something to honor him."

Later in the half, Lewis did the same thing after making a tackle on Steelers' running back Amos Zereoue.

"For him to take a shot at me like that, I lost all respect for him," Porter said. "I used to think he was a good football player. But he got the spike put to him today. He didn't do (anything). He missed a bunch of tackles and he ran around jumping on piles when somebody else made the tackle and then he acted like he did. I have no respect for him."


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