Don’t ask Joey Porter to tone it down; that’s just not who he is.
It wasn’t who he was as a player when he played for CSU from 1995-98 and 13 seasons as a linebacker in the NFL, and it’s not who he is now back on the sideline for the Rams as an undergraduate assistant coach.
Whether he’s playing the game or coaching it, Porter’s passion for football is unwavering. It is part of what makes him the great motivator he is now for the Rams and it is what has helped him solidify his spot in Rams history after being inducted into the Colorado State Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday along with five other former CSU athletes.
“I don’t turn down my passion,” Porter said. “I’m going to coach the game with passion, I’m going to chest bump the guys when they come off the sidelines, because if I don’t do that stuff then I’m not giving them who I am. And if I don’t give you me then I become just a regular guy, and that’s not what made me who I am; you get everything with me.”
As a first-year member of the Rams’ coaching staff this season, Porter works with co-defensive coordinator Marty English teaching the linebackers new skills and helping them on their pass rushing techniques.
If anyone can help teach the linebackers tricks of the trade, it’s Porter. He knows a thing or two about hunting quarterbacks for a living.
Porter racked up 20 sacks in his career with the Rams, 14 of which came in just one season. As an NFL player with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals he totaled 98 sacks in 13 seasons and forced 26 fumbles. As a player and now a coach, he only has one setting: fast.
“He brings a certain energy as far as guys that maybe don’t want to hustle during practice; he knows what it is to be a Ram and (knows) that’s unacceptable so he does a great job of that,” McElwain said. “He’s just an energizer bunny.”
For linebacker Shaq Barrett who is among the nation’s top ten sack leaders with 7.5, having a vocal leader like Porter on the sidelines has been good for the team and himself.
“He always helps motivate us,” Barrett said. “When we’re not going, he tries to get us going because that’s the type of player he was. He hates to see practice going south and he just wants to get us back on the right page. Personally, he helps me a lot with my techniques.”
Porter doesn’t accept anything less than full speed. He knows what it takes to make it to the next level, and for him that means eating, sleeping and breathing football.
He cares about this game and even if he can’t play it anymore, being on the sidelines and watching the players execute a big play makes him feel like the only thing he’s missing are the pads.
“I can’t play football anymore and I’ll never have the opportunity to go out there and make that sack and that tackle, but I get the same joy out of just telling Cory James and Shaq Barrett, teaching them a move and then watching them get the sack and then (I) do my (celebration) kick at the end,” Porter said. “I don’t get to play anymore but it felt like I just did so I love every minute when I’m out there.”
One thing is for sure, when it comes to football, there’s no telling Porter to turn it down a notch. That’s just not the way he is built.
Football Beat Reporter Katie O’Keefe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.