It’s hard to envision former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter playing for the Dallas Cowboys but in a recent interview with Teresa Varley of steelers.com, the team’s current defensive coach admitted that he seriously thought that was going to happen in the days leading up to the 199 NFL Draft.
“I honestly thought it was going to be Dallas that drafted me,” Porter told Varley. “They had given me some Cowboys shirts and hats, took the family out to eat at the Outback Steakhouse, 15 of us. They told me they were going to take me in the second round. They gave us all of this Cowboys stuff.
“They gave my brother a cell phone. The Cowboys called me and played with me on Draft Day. They told me they needed the cell phone back because they were going in a different direction. They weren’t calling to say they were going to take me; they were calling to get the cell phone back. They were on my list to get them from the beginning.”
Instead of drafting Porter in the second round of that draft, the Cowboys selected offensive linemen Solomon Page instead. Page, by the way, was born in Pittsburgh and played his college football at West Virginia.
Even though the Steelers also passed on Porter in the second round in order to draft Weber State safety Scott Shields, they ended up selecting the Colorado State product 14 picks later. Porter told Varley that he vividly remembers how that process went down during the third round but that he doesn’t recall how the phone conversation with Pittsburgh went.
“I remember being in a room by myself when the Steelers were ready to pick,” recalled Porter. “My phone was ringing all day before that and it was supposed to only be for ‘the’ phone call. But people were calling all day checking on me. I got some calls early in the draft, but when my name started to get mentioned I was like, okay now leave the phone alone.
“I knew how long the first two rounds would be, but it actually went faster than I thought. When I got the call from the Steelers I was on the phone just saying yeah, yeah. I don’t even know what anyone was telling me or asking me. I was just agreeing to whatever was said because I was so excited.”
During his long career with the Steelers, Porter only got the opportunity to play against the Cowboys once during the 2004 season. While Page was no longer with the Cowboys that season, Porter and the Steelers did win that game so some revenge was ultimately enacted.
Being as the Steelers are scheduled to play the Cowboys this year at Heinz Field, you would have to think that Porter is somewhat looking forward to that matchup even as a coach.