PITTSBURGH (BVM) – Throughout the early 2000s, Joey Porter was a staple of a dominant Pittsburgh Steelers defense. He was a key part of the Steelers’ win in Super Bowl XL, and became a four-time Pro Bowl selection.
Since retiring, Porter’s involvement with football has not stopped. Over a decade after he was making headlines, Porter’s son is now doing so at Penn State. Meanwhile, Porter himself has not strayed far from football, reuniting with the Steelers as a defensive coach, and most recently taking on a new coaching role in a different league.
Joey Porter’s early life, college career
Originally born in Kansas City, Missouri, Porter played high school football in California at Foothill High School in Bakersfield. An all-state performer playing running back and wide receiver, Porter ran for over 1,000 yards as a senior.
The future NFL standout would land at Colorado State where he continued to play on the offensive side of the ball, initially as an H-back and later as a wide receiver. Porter caught 13 passes for 210 yards in his first two seasons.
However, by his junior season in 1997, Porter made the switch to the defensive line, racking up six sacks as the Rams won a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) title. He registered 14 sacks as a senior in 1998, the second-best single-season mark in Colorado State program history.
Joey Porter’s NFL career
Showing special upside on defense in his final two seasons at Colorado State, Bill Cowher and the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to take a chance on Porter with pick No. 73 in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Porter saw limited action, but played in all 16 games, making 26 tackles, two sacks and forcing a fumble.
By 2000, Porter became a regular starter for Pittsburgh and rewarded them with 10.5 sacks. Also accruing 60 tackles, two forced fumbles, an interception and a fumble-recovery touchdown, Porter made it clear he would be a force in the league.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound linebacker had another solid 2001 season in which he racked up nine sacks and 61 tackles, but it was 2002 where he finally broke through for his first Pro Bowl nod as well as first-team All-Pro honors, making 89 tackles with nine sacks while also grabbing four interceptions.
The next four years would feature Porter as a veteran leader of the Steelers defense, as he made five interceptions, 232 tackles, 29.5 sacks and forced eight fumbles from 2003-2006. Porter returned to the Pro Bowl in both 2004 and 2005. In 2005, Porter also helped the Steelers to a win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, making three tackles in the contest.
The next chapter of Porter’s NFL career came in Miami as he signed a five-year deal with the Dolphins following his release from the Steelers in the 2007 offseason. After a decent 2007 campaign, Porter proved he was worth every penny in 2008 as he returned to Pro Bowl and All-Pro status, racking up a career-best 17.5 sacks.
Porter made nine more sacks in 2009 which would be his final season with the Dolphins after he was released by the team in 2010. Signing a three-year, $24.5 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, Porter ended up playing just two seasons in the desert. The first was a respectable 50-tackle, five-sack season in 2010. However, Porter would play in just six games in 2011 due to injury.
During the summer of 2012, Porter signed a one-day contract to officially retire with the Steelers. In a career that saw some ups and downs, the four-time Pro Bowl selection made 689 tackles and 98 sacks with 12 interceptions, 25 forced fumbles and three career touchdowns.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 17, 2017
Joey Porter’s family
Porter and his wife, Christy, have four children: Jasmine, Jayla, Jacob, and Joey Jr. Joey Porter Jr. is the most notable of the bunch, as he is currently in his redshirt junior season as a cornerback at Penn State.
During his high school career, Porter Jr. became an all-conference and all-state player for North Allegheny High School. He had seven interceptions as a junior, and came back to record three picks and 22 tackles as a senior.
The four-star recruit decided to stay home for college with Penn State, recording his first career tackle and pass breakup as a true freshman in 2019. Porter Jr. became a full-time starter in 2020, earning third-team All-Big Ten honors and a Big Ten Freshman of the Week award in December.
Porter Jr. was named third-team All-Big Ten once again in 2021 as he racked up 51 tackles with a forced fumble and an interception for a 7-6 Penn State squad.
Ball hawk INT 🦅 pic.twitter.com/LD67nS1F2m
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 3, 2021
The 6-foot-2 cornerback has started the 2022 campaign strong, and could soon follow in his dad’s footsteps to the NFL, perhaps as a first-round draft pick in 2023. He began his 2022 season with eight tackles against Purdue, also breaking up six passes – tied for the most in a single game in Big Ten history while setting a new program record for Penn State.
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) September 7, 2022
Meanwhile, Jacob is also following in the footsteps of his dad and older brother, wearing No. 55 as an outside linebacker at Temple.
— Jacob Porter (@Jacob10Porter) April 3, 2022
Joey Porter’s achievements, net worth and endeavors
Porter Sr. made over $45 million in earnings during his 13-year NFL career. He is estimated to have a net worth of $14 million. In 2013, the former Steelers linebacker was inducted into the Colorado State Athletics Hall of Fame.
In 2020, it was announced that Porter Sr. and his wife would be creating a facility and community center designed to help kids and adults with special needs. The inspiration came from their daughter, Jasmine, who was born with autism. The facility was also named the Jasmine Nyree Campus after their daughter.
The couple bought the Holy Innocent Parish in 2019 to create the Jasmine Nyree Campus, and the 180,000 square-foot facility was officially unveiled in 2021. Specific services provided by the complex include employment placement, medical services, meals, after school programs, learning and athletics. The learning center at the facility includes the Jerome Bettis Gym and the Dan Rooney Basketball Court. A couple of Steelers legends were also on hand at the facility’s unveiling.
Amazing work is being done by Joey and Christy Porter at the Jasmine Nyree Campus in Pittsburgh. Was honored to be at their grand opening today to see it all first hand. pic.twitter.com/eBD1oyZB6z
— Mike Tomlin (@CoachTomlin) June 5, 2021
Joey Porter’s coaching career, post-playing life
In 2013, Porter Sr. returned to his alma mater to finish his degree, and became a graduate assistant on Jim McElwain’s Colorado State staff. That was the springboard to reuniting with the Steelers in 2014 as an assistant to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. As Keith Butler was hired in 2015, Porter Sr. was promoted to outside linebackers coach.
While the Steelers saw success with Porter Sr. on the staff, his tenure as a coach in Pittsburgh was not without controversy. In a wild-card round game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Porter Sr. went on to the field during a timeout to argue with Cincinnati players, drawing a 15-yard personal foul penalty after being pushed by Adam “Pacman” Jones. The foul set up a game-winning field goal for the Steelers. Following that season, the “Joey Porter rule” was implemented, prohibiting assistant coaches from going on to the field of play.
In 2017, Porter Sr. also had to take administrative leave from the Steelers after he was arrested. By 2019, the former linebacker was let go by head coach Mike Tomlin.
Out of coaching since the 2018 season, Porter Sr. is now getting set to resurrect his career. In September, it was announced that Porter Sr. would join the new XFL’s San Antonio franchise, becoming the team’s linebackers coach. The move reunites Porter Sr. with former teammate and Steelers legend Hines Ward, who is the head coach of the San Antonio franchise.
All we can say is… It’s about time, San Antonio! Great people, great food, and a great time at the @Alamodome.
— XFL (@XFL2023) September 6, 2022
The XFL – which is set to kickoff in February 2023 – will feature multiple former Steelers as coaches, including Rod Woodson, who is the head coach of the league’s Las Vegas team. Former Steelers offensive coordinator Ray Sherman and former Pittsburgh safety Darren Perry will join Woodson’s staff. Tim Lewis and Bruce Gradkowski are other coaches in the league with Steelers ties.
Outside of coaching, Porter Sr. has enjoyed watching his sons play the game, while also keeping a close eye on the Steelers on Sundays. He has been able to watch the blossoming careers of some of the former players he coached as well, such as former Colorado State linebacker and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive star, Shaquil Barrett.
Being able to give back, watch his family succeed and stay involved with the game, Porter Sr. has enjoyed a pretty successful retirement, and will look to excel once again in his new XFL coaching role.