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Ex-Steeler Porter stays away from Super Bowl


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POSTED: Thursday, February 05, 2009

When Pittsburgh claimed its NFL-best sixth Super Bowl on Sunday, former Steelers outside linebacker Joey Porter was nowhere to be found—or, more importantly for him, seen.

Porter was a member of Pittsburgh's 2005 Super Bowl XL squad, and the linebacker still has many close ties to the team for which he played his first eight professional seasons. And, while he does not resent his former teammates' continued success, the second-year member of a resurgent Miami squad would have felt like a fish out of water by attending the Super Bowl.

“;It was (going to be) so tough for me to go in there and watch them play, I told (my former teammates) that I couldn't do it,”; said Porter, one of two players in NFL history to record at least 60 sacks and 10 interceptions (the other is Clay Matthews). “;I couldn't be that guy caught in the stands cheering for my team, and then get caught up running out there and catching confetti with them. ... I don't even play for them.

“;That wouldn't look good on TV, me getting caught in one of those shots. I have too many family members on that team, so I told them I'll catch 'em on the tour when we party afterwards.”;

Porter recently completed his tenth NFL season, helping the Dolphins shed the distinction of league doormat.

The squad finished 1-15 in 2007, but thanks to a revamped team approach headed by mastermind Bill Parcells, Miami went from the AFC East Division cellar to penthouse in just one season. The Dolphins won their final five games to clinch the division title and a playoff berth with an 11-5 record.

Porter was an integral cog in the turnaround, as the Colorado State University product racked up a career-high 17.5 sacks—including four quarterback takedowns against the rival Patriots on Sept. 21—and forced four fumbles. The sacks, for which Porter ranked first in the AFC and second in the NFL, came mostly in key situations, including nine in the fourth quarter of Miami's games.

Miami was dismissed from the playoffs thanks to a 27-9 beatdown at the hands of Baltimore, but Porter is confident that the 'Fins are headed in the right direction—one with which he became familiar while donning Steeler black and gold.

“;It's a process. The first thing about being a good team like Pittsburgh is how close they are,”; Porter said. “;You ask anybody that's seen them, and they're so close. I experienced that for the first time last year. We're coming to be like that now, but when I first got there, it wasn't really like that.

“;Everybody has certain friends, and that's how it's going to be on every team. But, for the majority, you need the team to be on one page—everybody should be able to hang out. You play like that, and good things will always happen. Those will be the teams that are clicking, and those will be the teams that win.”;

 

Peterson ready to run

Adrian Peterson of the Vikings is hoping for an encore to last year's Pro Bowl performance. The 2007 NFC Rookie of the Year rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns as the NFC won 42-30.

“;God willing,”; he said. “;If not, as long as we get the win.”;

NFC coach Andy Reid said he's glad Peterson is ready to carry the load again.

“;We're going to run it 400 times,”; Reid said, laughing.

 

Long living the dream

Miami offensive tackle Jake Long looked around the makeshift locker room at the 'Ihilani Resort and couldn't help being awestruck.

“;Some of the guys I grew up watching, I'm playing with now,”; Long said. “;Guys like Ray Lewis and Peyton Manning, it's crazy to be on the same team as them.”;

A Pro Bowler in his first season, Long hasn't had to endure any rookie hazing he can't handle.

“;Gotta buy the guys a couple of drinks here and there, but nothing bad,”; he said.

Especially when his first pro contract included $30 million guaranteed.