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Coaching comes easy for Steelers assistant J-Peezy

| Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, 9:39 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Steelers defensive assistant Joey Porter works with the linebackers during practice Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in Latrobe.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Steelers defensive assistant Joey Porter watches practice Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in Latrobe.

Joey Porter quickly is learning you can't teach intensity in the NFL, especially the kind he possessed as a four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker.

“Either you have that type of passion for the game or you don't,” said Porter, who was one of the NFL's most emotional — and combustive — on-field leaders from 1999-2011.

“When I was a player, it kind of worked easier because I could be out there in the fight with them. Well, I'm not in the fight (now), so my words aren't going to carry the same weight. … I can do all the rah-rah stuff I want, but I'm still a coach.”

A coach with an extended future if he wants it, if Porter's first Steelers training camp as a defensive assistant is any indication.

Based on his interactions with players, Porter already appears to be an effective teacher and mentor.

Outspoken as a player, he said he won't publicly critique or criticize any player because that's not his job.

“I'll tell you when you're doing good, I'll tell you when you're doing bad, and I try not to make it personal because I'm just here to help,” said Porter, a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker with 98 career sacks.

During several backs-on-'backers drills in camp, Porter's cajoling, cheerleading and constant encouragement clearly appeared to drive his players.

“You'd see him out there talking smack, kicking up the dirt and going at everybody (as a player),” linebacker Vince Williams said.

“I kind of figured he would be like that (as a coach). He's always giving up little tips and stuff. ... He brings energy, and he's just a great dude with a lot of knowledge.”

Porter believes working daily with defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau can only enhance his career because he is “learning the reason and the why we did things. What better way to start off my coaching career than to have a legendary guy show me the ropes?”

How long does he want to coach — and what level does he want to reach?

“Just like when I was a player, I'm going to do it with everything I've got,” Porter said. “I'm not on the fast track of looking for the next opportunity. … I don't have a plan that I want to be here (in a certain job) in five years. I want to be here next year.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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