NFC East Reporter
INDIANAPOLIS – Joey Porter Jr. he finished college football a year ago, convinced it was the right time to make his shot in the NFL. He was coming off a strong sophomore season at Penn State. He was confident he could handle the jump to professional football.
Then his parents told him he was wrong.
“I had a tough talk with my parents and they told me I wasn’t ready,” he said. “I picked it up and listened to them because my dad had been there before.”
It certainly made the bad news easier knowing that his father, Joey Porter Sr., was a bit of an expert. He spent 13 years in the NFL. He had 98 sacks, went to four Pro Bowls, was a two-time All-Pro and won a Super Bowl when his son was just 5 years old. So when it came to a Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher telling his son he needed an extra year in college, it wasn’t just the voice of a concerned parent.
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The advice was good and real and something Porter Jr. i needed to hear
“It definitely hurt,” Porter Jr. said. “I definitely didn’t want to hear that from your parents, but I knew it was well-intentioned.
“And they were right.”
A year later, it’s clear the extra year at Penn State paid off, as Porter Jr. came into the NFL scouting combine as one of the top cornerbacks in this year’s NFL draft. He doesn’t have eye-popping numbers, just one interception in his three seasons, but he has plenty of talent. Last year, in 10 games as a junior, opposing teams barely threw on his side of the field.
This lack of action doesn’t make him jump out of the movie like his famous father used to. His behavior also does not match his father’s. Porter Mr. he was famous for his aggression, getting into several fights during his eight years with the Steelers. He even got involved in one during his three years with them as an assistant coach.
Porter Jr., during his press conference Thursday, appeared calm and polite, smiling much more than most remember his father doing during his playing days.
“I get like my dad on the field,” he said, “and like my mom off the field.”
But his behavior off the field is deceptive, he said. On the field, he said, “You’re going to have a competitor who wants to compete in anything they do.”
“I’d say I’m a physical press corner that will get in your face and do my job and do it well,” he said. “I feel like I’m the best corner here.”
Famous parents talk about star children
Marvin Harrison and Joey Porter talked about their sons’ matchup at the Ohio State-Penn State game.
He could be It’s considered a deep, talented and heavyweight cornerback class, with perhaps a dozen players who could easily go in the first two rounds. An NFL scout this week suggested they could end up taking corners 5-6 in the first round, with Porter part of a first-round group that includes Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, Georgia’s Kelee Ringo, Georgia’s Devon Witherspoon ‘Illinois and possibly a few. others according to who is asked.
And yes, having a famous NFL father and growing up around the game is definitely an advantage when teams are deciding which young players to take.
“When you’re around the game that much and you understand it, I think it shows not only in the person in the building, but on the football field,” Steelers general manager Omar Khan said this week. “I think when you’re around more, you’re around football and people who are football, it’s natural.”
Porter Jr. has had a lifetime of that experience, dating back to his first professional football memory: when his father’s Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL in 2006. He spent his youth constantly hanging around the players and dressing rooms, watching his father train and practice. He even used to do one-on-one passing drills with then-Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
What did his father teach him? “Just to be myself, no matter what,” Porter Jr. said. “People will always make comparisons. I have my name. He has his name for a reason. I do what I love to do for a reason.”
In fact, his father had more important advice. Porter Mr. he may be proud that he lasted 13 years in the league, racked up nearly 100 sacks, went to Pro Bowls and won a championship, but he wants his son to somehow do better than that.
“My dad’s been there before. He’s done it. I want to do the same and be better,” Porter Jr. said. “That’s the most important thing he always told me. He wants me to be better than him.
“That is what I will strive to do.”
Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports, covering the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the previous six years covering the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and before that, 16 years covering the Giants and the NFL for the New York Daily News. Follow him on Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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