Steelers' Tomlin trying to limit distraction of Porter arrest
Coach Mike Tomlin said he won't permit the recent arrest of outside linebackers coach Joey Porter to be a distraction for the Steelers as they prepare to play the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC divisional playoff game Sunday.
Porter was arrested Sunday night after an altercation with a doorman and Pittsburgh police officer outside a South Side bar. He was released from jail Monday morning after posting $25,000 bond, and the Steelers placed him on leave that afternoon.
“Our job is to overcome and deal with distractions and things that pop up from time to time,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “This is common knowledge and a public issue, so I see how it can be viewed as such. But inside this building, it won't be. It will be one of myriad of things we have to deal with as professionals.
“It doesn't change what's expected from us and won't change our approach to preparation for what is expected from us.”
Tomlin said there is no timetable for how long Porter will remain on leave while the incident is under investigation. He also did not rule out Porter returning to the team prior to the game against the Chiefs.
“We're not ready to say he's not going to be a part of it,” Tomlin said.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he expects Tomlin to address the issue when he holds his weekly team meeting with the players.
“We have to focus on what we have to focus on,” Roethlisberger said on his 93.7 FM radio segment. “It's the playoffs, and it's the Chiefs. That is where 100 percent of our focus needs to be. That's where it is for me, and I know that's where it is for the guys.”
Tomlin opened his weekly news conference at UPMC Rooney Sports Performance Complex by addressing the Porter arrest, calling it “disappointing” and “unfortunate.”
Porter is facing charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest, defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.
“To be involved in the National Football League is an honor and a privilege. It's not a right,” Tomlin said. “We should respect it as such. Obviously, it was breached in this circumstance, and there are consequences to be suffered because of it.”
Porter, a former Pro Bowl linebacker with the Steelers, is in his second season as the team's outside linebackers coach. He was promoted after spending the 2014 season as a defensive assistant.
“In this league we are all held to a standard of decorum, as players but coaches, front office people and executives even more so and rightfully so,” Tomlin said. “We're treating it with the attention it deserves.”
Keith Butler, who coached the team's linebackers for 12 years until becoming defensive coordinator in 2015, will assume Porter's duties, Tomlin said.