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Original Issue

Joey Porter

IN THIS MONTH'Swhirlwind of NFL player relocations, no move was more surprising than that ofthree-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Joey Porter, a career Steeler who wascut by the team on March 2. Four days later the Dolphins gave Porter, one oftwo NFLers ever to have 60 sacks and 10 interceptions, a five-year, $32 milliondeal. The 6'3", 250-pound Porter, 30, a magnet for controversy on the fieldand off, is apparently not about to change his ways—he was cited for punchingthe Bengals' 6'7", 305-pound Levi Jones at the Palms in Las Vegas lastSaturday, one of the rare things that, at SI's press time, Porter wouldn't talkabout.

On being aDolphin
It's a great situation. They're trying to win a championship now—they nevertalked about rebuilding when I met with them. We had a short meeting, andeverything that they said sounded good. Coach [Dom] Capers [Miami's defensivecoordinator] has always used the 3--4 defense, and he wanted to have a dominantpass rusher to get things going on the other side of [NFL Defensive Player ofthe Year] Jason Taylor. I can be that guy who makes an impact.

On why he didn'ttake more time to investigate the market
I didn't want one of those fly-all-over-the-world recruiting trips. I wanted toknow who wanted me. When we started to seriously look at Miami, we thought theBengals would respond faster, but they didn't get back to my agent until sixhours later. I had to decide: Wait for Cincinnati to get involved in a biddingwar, or go with a team that had presented me with a good situation? I feltcomfortable with the Dolphins.

On getting cut bythe Steelers
It wasn't a shock; they couldn't pay me what I was worth. The hard part isleaving the players. That was my locker room. Those were my guys. But this is abusiness, and the sooner you realize that, the easier it is to avoid beinghurt. I'll say this: What I did in Pittsburgh can't be replaced. They know it,and I know it. They might get somebody who can perform on the field, but theywon't get somebody who brings the same presence to that team.

On his infamouspregame fight with then Browns back William Green in 2004
Green came across the 50-yard line and charged me. I had to protect myself, butI became the bad guy because I won the fight.

On being finedlast year for using a homosexual slur to describe Browns tight end KellenWinslow
That's all on me. I was so frustrated by him [Winslow had put a late hit onSteelers linebacker James Farrior] that I used a word I shouldn't have used.Where I grew up [in Bakersfield, Calif.], that was a word meant to say a guy issoft. I should've just said he was soft. But I wanted to cut him so deep that Idid something wrong.

On hisrelationship with former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher
He understood me. I play with emotion. When I came to Pittsburgh [in 1999], Iwas on special teams and scout teams, and I wanted to play so bad. So I pickedfights with [running back] Jerome Bettis in practice. He was a future Hall ofFamer, but I didn't care. I knew I could play, and I wanted people to know Iwasn't intimidated. I think Coach Cowher looked at me and thought, This guyisn't afraid to go after anybody.