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‘He Won Today’: Joey Porter Jr. Dazzles at Training Camp



Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr.

UNITY TWP, Pa. — In the ongoing training camp battle between Pittsburgh Steelers second-year wide receiver George Pickens and rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr., score one for the newcomer.

Porter was the star of Thursday’s training camp session, securing a pair of interceptions, one in a two-on-two drill and the other against Kenny Pickett in the two-minute drill to close practice.

For the first, Porter was the second to get his hands on the ball, but outmuscled Hakeem Butler in a two-on-two drill, taking the ball away as the two went to the ground in the end zone for a spectacular pick.

The second was nearly as good. Pickett was flushed from the pocket, stepping up and looking to his right. Cody White started to come back to Pickett, but Porter got there first, stepping in front of the receiver and diving for the ball, just getting down before sliding out of bounds.

The play was a walk-off win in the two-minute drill for the first-team defense, and even though the ball was not intended for Pickens (White was replacing Diontae Johnson, who did not practice on Thursday), Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made sure to let Pickens know who had the better day.


Steelers WR George Pickens celebrates a catch over Joey Porter Jr. at training camp, Aug. 1, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“He won today. Significantly,” Tomlin said, coming over to find Pickens on the sideline after the interception. “See your ass tomorrow.”

WATCH: Steelers WR George Pickens on Viral Catch, Camp Rivalry with Joey Porter Jr.

Tomlin was asked why he has tried to pair those two up together so much through the early part of camp. The answer is a simple one.

“Highly competitive young people trying to get better,” he said.

Porter did not come to the NFL as a prodigious interceptor, but has done both that and work on the rest of his game at a high level this training camp.

“He is a quick learner,” Tomlin said. “He’s very much in the growth process in terms of the nuances of the professional game. The cornerback position in particular has probably got more of an adjustment from college to pro than any other position in the game, because of the differences in the rules in terms of contact beyond five yards. He’s doing a really good job of being cognizant of that. …

 That adjustment, we cannot underestimate, but I appreciate his efforts in that regard and he’s being productive in the midst of it.”

Pickens will get his next shot to make a statement Friday night under the lights at Latrobe Memorial Stadium. Stay tuned for tomorrow.

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