Son of Former Steelers All-Pro Makes Final Decision on Football Future

Joey Porter Jr.

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images Joey Porter Jr. of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates with fans after a game against the Auburn Tigers at Beaver Stadium on September 18, 2021.

It’s been more than a decade since former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Joey Porter last played in the NFL — and 16 years since he last suited up for the black & gold. But next April his son will get the opportunity to begin an NFL career of his own.

Late Wednesday afternoon Joey Porter Jr. issued a statement announcing that he has played his last down as a cornerback for the Nittany Lions.

“After careful thought, I have decided to forego our bowl game and declare for the 2023 NFL Draft. From one dream to the next, I am excited to continue this next chapter,” he tweeted, part of a message in which he described his Penn State career as “nothing short of a blessing.”

He also took the time to thank his Penn State coaches and teammates, as well as his Mom and Dad.

“To my family, I thank you for the unconditional love and support. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the love and guidance from my Mom,” he wrote. “To my Dad, thank you for introducing me to the game I love and for always pushing me to be my best.”

Joey Porter Jr. Projects to Be a 1st-Round Pick

Indeed, Joey Porter Jr.’s best has been pretty damn good. The redshirt junior finishes his Nittany Lions journey having played in 30 games, having been credited with 94 total tackles (74 solo), as well as 19 passes defensed and one interception, plus one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

To be sure, NFL scouts really like his game. In September 2022 an NFC personnel executive told Matt Lombardo of Heavy that “Joey Porter Jr. is a big-time prospect and he’ll definitely be a 1st-round pick. He’s legit. He’s easily Penn State’s best NFL prospect, and a starting caliber NFL corner.”

More notably, longtime Steelers beat writer Mark Kaboly believes that his dad’s former team might well target him in the draft.

“Joey Porter Jr. fits the mold of what the Steelers want with a corner — a long, physical press-man cover corner … and this team has shown it loves bloodlines,” noted Kaboly in The Athletic on Nov. 26.

Joey Porter Sr. Was a 3rd-Round Pick in 1999

If Joey Porter Jr. — 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds — gets drafted in the 1st or 2nd round, he will better the draft status of his father, who was selected by the Steelers in the 3rd round of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Colorado State (No. 73 overall).

Porter went on to star in the league for 13 seasons, the first eight of which came in Pittsburgh, where he made the Pro Bowl three times, including first-team All-Pro honors in 2002. After that he played for the Miami Dolphins for three seasons (2007-09), where he recorded a career high 17.5 sacks in 2008. He finished by starting 20 games over the course of two years with the Arizona Cardinals (2010-11).

All told Porter played in 188 NFL games (with 171 starts), during which time he recorded 689 tackles (516 solo), including 124 tackles for loss, 98 sacks and 72 quarterbacks hits, along with 12 interceptions, 25 forced fumbles and 22 fumble recoveries. He made the Pro Bowl four times (2002, 2004-2005, 2008).

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