For as much as the Pittsburgh Steelers might value family ties as a predictor of talent level, dedication, and disposition, they are not going to draft a player in the first round just because his dad was once in their employ.
You already know what this is about, but if they do end up drafting Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr., it will be on his own merits. But that doesn’t mean those who knew his dad wouldn’t be happy to see it happen for more than football reasons.
“That would be awesome. I’d love Little Peezy in there”, former Steelers defensive lineman and Porter teammate Brett Keisel told Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller on 93.7 The Fan, recalling seeing Jr. around the stadium as a little kid. He had a little story to tell about that one, in fact:
It was awesome when we were playing, all those kids, we’d have them down every Saturday…[W]e could bring our kids in because it’s pretty much a walkthrough, it’s a relaxed environment, so all of us would bring our sons down and let them go in the locker room and let them be around the guys. [Casey] Hampton always had his shirt off so they’d go and wrestle him and try and get him on the ground and blow bubbles on his stomach. It was just a great environment. Joey’s kids were always in there. There was always a football game going on. Most of the time when we’d come down for meetings, someone’s kid was bleeding and crying. Just great memories.
Ah, yes, great memories of children bleeding and blowing bubbles on Big Snacks’ big belly. The Steelers Way. The championship way. But a fun story, probably predating Mike Tomlin, since Joey Porter only played one season under him in 2007. But his son might have longer than that. And Keisel sees the resemblance.
“When I watch him play, he looks like his dad out there. Just chirping, talking, lot of hand motions and getting in people’s face”, he said. “But, quiet kid, and if you know anything about Mrs. Porter, she’s about as sweet and kind as they come, so it’s a good mix of both of them”.
And if he does come to Pittsburgh, he’ll get a couple of years learning from Patrick Peterson, one of the best in the business to do it over the past decade. He might not be the exact same player he once was in terms of his athletic ability, but he knows a little something about playing the position.
And he does still have a thing or two to learn. He’s too handsy for the NFL right now, for example, if he were to continue to play as he did for the Nittany Lions. Gaining a deeper understanding of the full breadth of coverage concepts he would be asked to run is another key area of growth that will have to be targeted by whatever team drafts him. But one thing that team won’t have to worry about is the type of player they’re getting.