There’s something to be said about growing up around professional athletes and the attitude that comes with it. Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr., who came of age while his father played for the team, is expected to play a pretty big role this year. Instead of discussing his play on the field, Porter said he’s going to try and learn from Pittsburgh’s veterans.
“I feel like I have a big impact, but I’m really just trying to learn from the old guys and really just come in and really trying to get their respect and show them what I could do on and off the field,” he said via audio provided by the team.
Often, rookies want to come in and show that they’re better than their counterparts. They can be younger and more athletic and want to flash those traits to try to see the field immediately. And you can’t really blame guys for just wanting to prove that they’re the best at their position and not really worrying about whose job their taking. After all, the league is a business. But from someone who’s been around it, it’s clear that Porter values the leadership and wisdom and experience that the veterans in the locker room provide. With a former All-Pro like Patrick Peterson on the roster and other leaders like Levi Wallace in the cornerback room, there will be no shortage of veterans to help mentor Porter.
Camaraderie, chemistry and leadership are some of the most important things that a football team needs to be successful. If a guy alienates himself from his teammates or has a me-first attitude, it’s going to hurt the team as a whole and ruin the vibe of the locker room. Given that his father was a leader in the Pittsburgh locker room for a number of years, that’s something that Porter understands and it’s something that will serve him well as he becomes a leader himself in the Steelers’ locker room.
Porter could certainly have a Day 1 impact on the Steelers. His length and supreme athleticism are going to be a pain for opposing wide receivers to deal with, and his ability to break up in-breaking routes and slants is going to be an asset to the Steelers. But to see that on the first day of rookie minicamp he’s more concerned with relationship-building and becoming a guy who wants to contribute on-and-off the field is awesome. It’s going to be a lot of fun watching Porter’s career unfold in Pittsburgh.