Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 7/19/12
After suffering a knee injury last season, Joey Porter, whose career was already on the decline, was rumored to be considering retirement after 13 seasons in the league for the Steelers, Dolphins and Cardinals. With the emergence of Sam Acho and O’Brien Schofield as up and coming outside linebackers for the Cardinals, Porter was not assured of a roster spot.

In announcing his retirement on July 18 to Ian Rappaport of NFL.com, he plans on signing a one day contract with Pittsburgh to end his career where it began. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers in 2005 and was one of the first of the punishing, relentless and inspired line of outside linebackers to play for Dick LeBeau’s zone-blitzing defense, paving the way for James Harrison to carry on his tradition.

Although he may not be headed for Canton, he is a player that deserves to be recognized as one of the best pass rushers in the first decade of the new millennium. Known for his brash personality, Porter was the kind of player who strove to cash the many checks that his mouth wrote. He was athletic enough that he began his college career at Colorado State as an H-Back, but eventually found a home on the other side of the ball.

Although his highest sack total was with the Dolphins in 2008 with 17.5, he had seven or more sacks in six of his eight seasons with the Steelers, and was consistently gameplanned against due to his potential to cause disruptive and game-changing plays.

In Miami he lined up with Jason Taylor and in Arizona with Calais Campbell, but Porter will always be remembered in black and gold due to his embodiment of the low-profile, no name defenses that played with a chip on their shoulders and hit you like it was going out of style. Because, in effect, it was.

Although he will be one of the last of a dying breed of defensive players who pounded offenses until they lost their will to play, his star shone brightly for the 2005 Super Bowl Champion Steelers, which could possibly be the team to use a truly smash mouth style to win a championship. For that, he earns the respect of his toothless, leatherheaded forbearers. That is a much tougher respect to earn.

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