Porter kicks up fuss for reporters

DETROIT – Bill Cowher let Joey Porter come out and play with the media Tuesday, and the Pittsburgh Steelers survived.

"I'm not really a spokesman," said Porter on media day. "There's a reason Coach Cowher doesn't let me do the press conferences."

Porter was notable by his absence from Monday's press conference. Six Pittsburgh Steelers were chosen to speak to the media after the team arrived, and the volatile Porter wasn't one of them.

"I'm not going to be the guy who's going to sit up here and tell you lies," he explained. "I'm going to give you my honest true answer. That might not always be the best thing, but I can't sit up here and tell you something I'm not really feeling. If you ask me a question, you're going to get an honest answer."

OK, Joey, what's going to happen Sunday?

"We came out here to win the Super Bowl," he shot back. "We didn't come out here just to be happy to be here."

Porter of course is a big reason the Steelers are in the Super Bowl. And on media day, Porter was a big reason for the mob of reporters down at the far end -- his end -- of Ford Field. And they brought their sharp sticks.

What did Porter think about Seattle's planned victory parade?

"You don't want to come to the Super Bowl and think about losing," he said. "So I can't be mad at them for that. I have my parade in my head."

Some carry a song in their head; Porter's waiting for the tuba player to dot the "i."

Horns did in fact sound throughout the football world three weeks ago when Porter called the Indianapolis Colts soft before the division-round playoff game. Porter yesterday blasted the reporter who asked that question.

"I just answered it," Porter said. "(The reporter) told me that they out-physicaled us. He said my coach said that and I said I don't think he said that. That was how it started. You all just put my quote in and ran with it."

Undeterred, reporters poked him some more at media day: What about his earring? What about his tattoos? How's he holding up under this barrage of questions?

"They're killing me," he said. "They're asking me about piercings and getting shot. I thought they were going to ask me questions about football.

"It's been like that. The bigger story is what I say. The big story isn't how I go out there and play football. The bigger story is what he's going to say next. That's the only reason why I have people waiting for me right now. They feel like they're going to tug and tug and tug and tug until he breaks. But it's not going to happen."

Some reporters wanted more. Some wanted to know how Porter was going to match up with the Seahawks' All-Pro tackle Walter Jones, particularly since Porter has regained his status as the Steelers' main pass-rushing threat.

Porter has three sacks in three playoff games, and every one of them was significant to the outcome.

Against Cincinnati, Porter and Troy Polamalu sacked Jon Kita on second-and-12 at the Cincinnati 40 with the Bengals leading by 17-14. Against Indianapolis, Porter sacked Peyton Manning twice (1.5 officially) in the final two minutes. Against Denver, Porter's sack and forced fumble of Jake Plummer set the Steelers up for a 10-0 lead.

Counting the post-season, Porter has 13.5 sacks this season, an unofficial career-high. He had 10.5 in the regular season to match his previous regular-season high set in 2000.

The 2000 season looked as if it would be Porter's zenith. A gunshot wound suffered just before the start of the 2003 season appeared to send the outside linebacker's career into decline. He had only five sacks that year and seven sacks in 2004.

This season got off to a bad start when Porter hurt his knee celebrating after a training-camp drill. He underwent surgery and played in the opener, but didn't regain his trademark speed off the edge until mid-season.

In the last eight games of the regular season, he had 6.5 sacks. Throw in the post-season games and Porter has 9.5 sacks in the last 11 games.

"Somewhere toward the middle of the season I took the knee sleeve off and didn't have to wear it any more," he said. "It was like having a tire with Fix-A-Flat. It keeps going flat, and you're not going to go too far if you have to keep putting Fix-A-Flat in it. But when you get it running right, you're moving OK. I just feel a lot better."

He'd better. Awaiting Porter on Sunday is Jones, who next week will play in his sixth Pro Bowl.

"I went against him a few years ago," Porter said of the 2003 meeting. "I thought he was a solid player back then, but looking at him on tape, looking at how he got after a couple guys, he's definitely put himself up there as one of the better left tackles in the game."

Porter beat Jones one time that day but missed the sack. Porter missed quite a few that year, but he's back and cracking wise. The band inside his head is only warming up.


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