Update: The Steelers confirmed Joey Porter Jr.’s uniform number when rookie digits were unveiled on May 3, 2023.
With Pittsburgh Steelers rookie minicamp right around the corner (May 10, 2023), incoming freshmen are starting to choose the number they could be wearing for the rest of their careers. One of the more highly anticipated reveals is that of legacy rookie Joey Porter Jr.
On May 2, former Steelers cornerback (and now Steelers scout) Ike Taylor disclosed on Dave Dameshek’s Minus Three Podcast that he’ll sport No. 24 — “Uncle Ike’s” number. This is according to Steelers legend Joey Porter Sr. and has not yet been confirmed by the team.
“Peezy, Joey Porter Sr., was like, ‘He gonna wear that 2-4 in honor of Uncle Ike,'” Taylor shared. “So I was like, Oh, hell yeah. That’s pretty damn cool.”
It’s too bad players can’t wear whatever numbers they want, or he’d likely be honoring his dad. The joke going around is Porter should wear No. 5 so fans can simply put tape over one of the 5s. Porter wore No. 9 at Penn State, but (so far) the Steelers have been more strict on the policy. Aside from Melvin Ingram (go figure), who wore No. 8 for a whole six weeks, only quarterbacks, kickers and punters are permitted to wear Nos. 1 to 9 in the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. Initiated by the Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL began permitting all positions to wear single-digit jersey numbers in 2021. But in old-school fashion, Pittsburgh hasn’t really followed suit. It’s hard to see them budging on that, but you never know.
Currently, kicker Chris Boswell wears nine and has for eight seasons. You’d think he’d sell that number at a price to Porter if Rooney were to cave.
Ike Taylor on Joey Porter Jr.’s Likeness
Who does Joey Porter Jr. remind Ike Taylor of? “He’s got a lot of similarities to Ike,” Taylor said, in the third person.
Taylor shared what it was like for Junior before he grew up and started playing the game, inching closer and closer to being in the pros.
“I knew Joey Porter Jr. when he was small, like, when he was born,” said Taylor. “It’s just now him turning into a damn-near first-round draft pick.”
“That’s nephew. Nephew wearing Black & Gold. Nephew was raised in the locker room, saw the Super Bowl, saw the confetti, saw the playoffs, saw the tension, saw the atmosphere. He was born there… He really knows what it is to be a Steeler.”
Taylor agreed that it’s pretty amazing how it came to be. “It’s a difference between being born there, where you’re seeing nothing but success, savage-like attitudes on defense to you actually getting drafted there.
How Joey Porter Jr. Fits in With the Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers wasted little time improving their secondary situation with the addition of former Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. On draft weekend, Omar Khan and Co. added three more — two via selections in Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr. and veteran Chandon Sullivan, on his fourth team in his five-year career.
Now the corner room is filled with eight guys, all of varying talent and skill, making that battle the one to watch in camp. You’d have to think the top three are locks, but beyond that, who knows?
Porter’s forte is press-man coverage, something the Steelers have lacked since the aforementioned Ike Taylor. Expect that he’ll battle (and win) for a starting spot on the outside. Patrick Peterson, who Porter said he admired coming up, will guide the way.