“Jerome was a linebacker that played running back,” said Porter, talking this week from his home in California. “It’s that simple. Jerome was a physical guy. Most backs went away from traffic, linebackers love traffic. Jerome loved traffic. Running backs get in the hole and dodge guys. He would shake a guy every now and then to make fun of them and show he is big and can shake you.”
Porter remembers the days during training camp at St. Vincent College when he had to try and bring Bettis down. Porter, who has never shied away from talking smack on the field, was often left without anything to say after going against Bettis.
“There were times I went against him in practice and he got the best of me,” said Porter. “I couldn’t say anything. I would just walk back to the huddle. I couldn’t feel my shoulders. But I tried to never let him see that. I would always play the next play so he didn’t know he hurt me. I would not go out of practice. I always forced myself to play one more play to make it look like I went down because of something else, but most of the time it was because I got hit by him and my shoulders were hurting.
“It got worse and worse as his career went on because he got bigger. That was Bus though. He was going to run hard, he was a low to the ground guy. He was going to bring it every single time. He was thick. He wasn’t a running back you wanted to tackle every day.”
It was those days, especially early in Porter’s career that helped mold him into the player he became. He said he learned so much from Bettis and that going against him made him gave him the confidence he needed.
“He groomed me,” said Porter. “When I was on scout team my biggest challenge was going against Jerome in practice and being able to know where he was going, go against him in one-on-ones and attempt to hit him in practice. It helped let me know if I was ready. If I got the respect out of him, then I was all right. He gave me that early in my career. We developed a lifetime relationship and I had to earn that. He gave me all of the confidence I had in practice.
“I was going against a future Hall of Famer and I knew that my rookie year.”
It things go the way Porter sees fit, then Hall of Famer will be a description soon attached to Bettis and by far, the most accurate and deserving one. Bettis is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013, which is set to be announced this Saturday in New Orleans, and Porter is still stunned he hasn’t gotten in the previous two years he was a finalist.
“There are other big running backs that played the game, but not like he did, not with the level of success he had for 13 seasons, being the man for that long at a high level,” said Porter. “He was a power back. A lot of guys claim to be a power back, but he was one. He earned every yard he has. He ran hard. He caught the ball. He scored touchdowns. He won the Super Bowl. He was a first round pick.
“He did all you could do. He should have been in there the first time out.”
Tags: Hall of Fame, Jerome Bettis, Joey Porter
Posted in News, Player | 5 Comments » | Print this Post
The lights will be shining on four former Steelers one last time on Friday night as they officially retire from the NFL as Steelers at the team’s night practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.
Willie Parker, Joey Porter, Aaron Smith and Marvel Smith, all members of at least one Super Bowl winning team, will be honored prior to the practice.
“All four are great Steelers,” said defensive end Brett Keisel, who played with each of them. “They were great players here. Aaron has taught me so much, how to play, approach it, play with technique. Marvel Smith, we competed like crazy when I was a younger player, he used to dominate me.
“All four of them are Pro Bowlers. Joey was our fearless leader. He had a method to his madness for sure. And Willie, he was a great player that came from free agency and worked his way into a starting role.”
Linebacker Larry Foote looks at the four players as guys who brought leadership to the locker room and left their footprint on the team for years to come, especially Porter who helped him when he was a young linebacker.
“I remember being a rookie looking up to them, them showing me the ropes,” said Foote. “It’s going to be a special night, they were all special.
“Joey was one of those special teammates, he brought everyone together. He was the ultimate captain, ultimate leader. His influence is still on this team. A lot of guys learned so much from him. He is the reason why we have had so much success this past decade.”
Current Steelers defensive linemen will always hold a special place in their heart for Aaron Smith, who was more than a teammate to them.
“He is a highly positive role model,” said Ziggy Hood. “Everything I learned and gained, I gained from guys like him. It’s one last big bang before you go out.
“He will still be that guy in my eyes for every lesson he taught me and everything I learned from him. It will be a special night.”
Keisel is happy all four will get a proper send off and thank you by the thousands of fans expected at the night practice, but saying thank you to Smith might be something he can never do enough of.
“Words can’t explain how much Aaron has taught me, not just on the football field but about being a man,” said Keisel. “I look up to him so much I don’t know if I will ever be able to repay him for what he has taught me.
“It will be emotional, but I have had time to wipe the tears away and enjoy and celebrate the career he had. I will never be able to repay him for what he has done for me and the organization.”
Tags: Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, Joey Porter, Larry Foote, Marvel Smith, Willie Parker, Ziggy Hood
Posted in Training Camp | 5 Comments » | Print this Post
There are a lot of great options, so take your pick and let us know who you think is the Steelers best third-round draft pick since 1970.
Be sure to vote on the LBs poll as well.
Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Hines Ward, Joel Steed, Joey Porter, Mel Blount, Mike Wallace, NFL Draft, Steelers Draft
Posted in Draft | Comments Off | Print this Post