TAMPA, Florida — Steelers rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. is out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after sustaining a left ankle injury last week in practice and having spotty participation ever since the injury.
Joey Porter Jr. suffered the injury last Saturday and was seen having the injury wrapped. But he did not practice on Sunday. Then, Porter Jr. ended up only being limited on Wednesday after practicing in full on Tuesday, indicating that he was unlikely to play. Now, that is official, and with a job open for the starting cornerback spot, this obviously gives some of the gap between the rookie and Levi Wallace.
Porter Jr. did not participate in team activities on Wednesday. That rose alarm bells. With only three preseason games, Porter Jr. will not have to capitalize on the next two, as long as he is healthy, in order to make a push for the starting role in week one over the veteran in Wallace.
There will be multiple top veteran players that are not playing. Minkah Fitzpatrick, T.J. Watt, Larry Ogunjobi, Patrick Peterson, and Cam Heyward will all not suit up for the game. The Buccaneers are not playing any of their defensive starters, and it appears Pittsburgh is largely following that model.
Tre Norwood (right calf), John Lovett (undisclosed), Keanu Neal (undisclosed), and Damontae Kazee (left ankle) are all not playing as well. That means that Kenny Robinson and Miles Killebrew will likely start at safety, with others such as Trenton Thompson and Jalen Elliott should receive plenty of reps to rev up their chances at cracking the active roster or practice squad.
Meanwhile, others that were questionable, such as DeMarvin Leal (left ankle), Kevin Dotson (right shoulder), and Nick Herbig (hip flexor) will all suit up for the game after being banged up in training camp.
Alan Saunders contributed reporting from Tampa Bay.