PITTSBURGH — By the time a player reaches the National Football League, they usually don’t have to worry about their dad showing up at practice any more.
Of course, most NFL players don’t suit up for the team where their father played a legendary career.
But that is the case for Pittsburgh Steelers second-round draft pick Joey Porter Jr., whose father Joey Porter Sr. was among the team alumni invited to watch practice at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex during the final week of OTAs.
Porter said he wasn’t worried about one more person on an already-crowded sideline watching him practice, though he was aware of his father’s larger-than-life presence. The younger Porter said his father has made his transition to the NFL, and his old man’s old team, an easy one.
“He really just tries to stay in his lane and let me do me,” Porter Jr. said. “He doesn’t want to overwork it or overhype anything. That’s the perfect thing about it. He understands me, that I need my space, and he was just a visitor today.”
A North Allegheny graduate and Penn State alum, Porter has now played three levels — not including his little league ball, when his father was his coach — within driving distance of home.
And while he’s happy there’s some space — at least more than there once was — in the relationship, he also isn’t going to let the potential advantage of an NFL alumnus father go to waste.
“It’s pretty cool, because at the end of the day, we’re just going to talk football,” Porter Jr. said. “He’s just going to give me some inside pointers on what he’s seeing from me and what I can do.”
Joey Porter Sr. wasn’t the only famous face at Steelers OTAs on Thursday, as comedian Matt Rife also visited practice, taking part in a few fun drills and getting to meet several members of the team.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 8, 2023