The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Whose decision was it to move on from Joey Porter on the coaching staff?
Less than a week after the Steelers failed to reach the postseason, the team offered the first token of ‘change’ in what will be a long offseason, with Head Coach Mike Tomlin releasing a statement announcing that the decision had been made that the organization would not renew the expiring contract of outside linebackers coach Joey Porter.
He did not say in the statement, explicitly, that it was his decision, however, and that has left many guessing, wondering if it was a move forced upon him by the top of the pyramid. Tomlin and Porter are friends off the field, and their children have attended school together.
Many are of the belief that it’s something Art Rooney II wanted following a season in which he saw storylines about an undisciplined team dominate the narrative about his organization. From Antonio Brown’s dram going back to OTAs to Le’Veon Bell and wrapping things back up with Brown once again from this past week, it’s been a long season of unflattering high-profile news items.
Porter has had a history of ‘issues’, shall we say, both during his playing career and his coaching career, and even in the short period in between the two. It was only about two years ago that he was arrested at a South Side bar, and many then believed the team should move on from him.
Perhaps they would have. Perhaps Tomlin insisted that he stay on board. And perhaps the leash has been shortened enough following the past season that the head coach no longer will be given as much leeway to run the team with minimal supervision.
I’m not sure if we’ll ever actually get an answer to this question, but I know it’s one that is being discussed among Steelers fans, so feel free to share your thoughts here. Tomlin spoke of change during his press conference. Was this a sign of him changing, or having change forced upon him? perhaps somewhere in the middle?