The name Porter and the Cincinnati Bengals have a history. Whether that was during Joey Porter’s eight seasons as a player for the Pittsburgh Steelers or during his post-playing career as a coach, Porter was unabashed about letting people know how he felt. Cincinnati certainly understood that after the teams met in the 2016 postseason and Porter ended up on the field in a hotly contested moment.
While Joey Porter Jr has yet to see the field in a matchup between the Steelers and Cincinnati, he was asked by 105.9’s Mark Madden Thursday about covering wide receivers “like Ja’Marr Chase” in single coverage. It led to a moment that might just be the next chapter in the Porter family versus the Bengals.
“Yeah, definitely,” Porter Jr told Madden. “I’m always (going to) bet on myself, versus anybody. Since a young kid, I’ve put myself in front of [Antonio Brown] and a lot of people were shocked that I did that. But I backed down from no challenge. I’m looking for the challenge. So definitely I’m ready and I’m excited for that.”
For further context about putting himself in front of Brown, Porter relayed a story about when his father was a coach for the Steelers and Porter Jr was a teenager.
“So my dad coached for the Steelers around that time,” Porter said. “I used to always go up to the training camp and I was a ball boy, so I was always around them doing extra work, helping them with stuff. And after practice, he used to stay out with me and he would work on wide receiver routes and stuff and I went against him.”
Regardless of how you feel about the later stages of Brown’s NFL career, during his time in Pittsburgh, he was one of the best receivers in the league. From 2013-2018, Brown put up over 1,280 yards every season and failed to hit double-digits in touchdowns only twice. He averaged 114 receptions, 1,524 yards, and 11 touchdowns in the regular season during that six-season stretch. So Porter was working against Brown in his absolute prime.
By comparison, Chase has proven himself to be one of the best wide receivers in the league with only two seasons under his belt. While he missed some time in the 2022 season, only appearing in 12 of the Bengals’ 17 regular-season games, he still eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving and had nine touchdowns. His rookie season was stellar as he hauled in 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. That’s an 18 yards per reception clip. Brown matched or exceeded that total twice in his career.
While one of the knocks on Porter coming out of college was his lack of interceptions (only one), he recorded 20 passes defended over his career. In his final season, he did not surrender a touchdown in coverage. He was targeted 26 times in man coverage but only allowed nine receptions for a total of 70 yards.
Porter Jr will have a chance to see Chase twice during the 2023 regular season as long as everyone involved stays healthy, but fans will have to wait until the latter stages of the season. The Steelers and Cincinnati will face off twice in a month’s time, first at the Bengals in Week 12 and then at home in Week 16. That should give Porter time to acclimate to the speed of the NFL before potentially shadowing one of the most explosive receivers in the league.