Remember when Joey Porter's pregame shtick used to be funny? Or at the very least, not embarrassing? (No? Wait, everybody outside Pittsburgh hated that guy? Weird.) He almost made Kellen Winslow cry two years ago, and during his Steelers career, he'd routinely stand at midfield, identify his "huckleberry", and then spend the next 60 minutes flapping his gums. Good times.
But since landing in Miami last season, Porter's been marginalized (which is what happens when you play for a team that wins one whopping game), both on the field and in terms of bluster. That doesn't mean he's not still working the pre-kickoff Jedi Mind Tricks, just that they're, inconceivably, more annoying than ever. In fact, former linebackers-turned-Jets assistant coach Brian Cox almost put a midfield whuppin'* on Porter yesterday.
It was not specifically clear what led to the argument, and Porter declined to talk about it after the game. But Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis said, according to what he heard from teammates and what he saw on a TV replay in the Jets' locker room, Porter intentionally disrupted kicker Mike Nugent during warmups.Wow, it's come to that; Porter's been relegated to harassing kickers. Who knows, maybe he's onto something; although actually winning the game would be nice. Baby steps, I guess.
''I think Nugent was trying to kick a field goal, and [Porter] went and kicked the ball or knocked it away,'' Ellis said. ``You know how Joey is, trying to tease everybody.''
* slight exaggeration