There might not be any crying in baseball but shedding some tears during the NFL Draft is perfectly acceptable. When Joey Porter Jr. heard his name at #32 Friday evening, the Porter household wasn’t the only ones who needed a tissue. So did Vince Williams, who spoke about what it meant knowing Porter Jr. was going to stay in Pittsburgh for his professional career.
Williams joined Cam Heyward’s special live edition of the Not Just Football with Cam Heyward podcast to react to the pick.
“The Peezy pick almost made tears come down,” Williams told the show. “It touched me. Being at Latrobe, watching that guy grow up, watching all the hard work he put in to stay home, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Porter Jr. wasn’t just the son of a Steeler. He was constantly around that building. In the facility on the sidelines at practice, notably during the team’s “Family Days” when player’s families are able to attend and watch practice. It’s a similar situation to Cam and Connor Heyward. Connor, the younger brother, was around the team growing up and spent as much time in the locker room before getting drafted as he did his rookie season.
Cam Heyward replied and acknowledged the special circumstances they have to make Porter the best player possible.
“To know we get to kinda mold him and make sure he’s in the best place possible, you couldn’t ask for more,” Heyward said.
As Mike Tomlin recently noted, no team loves siblings more than the Steelers. While players like Heyward will mentor and build anyone willing to listen and put in the work, there’s a feeling of extra responsibility with Porter’s son. He has high expectations not only seeing his dad thrive in the NFL but the perception he was a draft steal, a first round pick who fell to Pittsburgh in the second round. There’s heavy expectations on him to produce out of the gate and he’ll be counted on to play come Week One.
For Williams, he won’t be coaching up Porter. But he’ll be doing mentoring and teaching of his own, a linebackers coach at nearby Pine-Richland High School, who won a state title in upset fashion this past year. Williams noted his appreciation for a community he can be better involved in now that he’s retired.
“You play for the Steelers, you work all the time…now that I’m retired and I’m in the community and I’m seeing the kids and I’m going to different sports that they play, I’m actually getting to watch them grow. And that’s a beautiful thing.”