The Steelers aren’t making a change at head coach after failing to make the playoffs this season, but they have announced a change to their coaching staff for the 2019 season.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement that outside linebackers coach Joey Porter’s contract will not be renewed. Porter played for the Steelers from 1999-2006 and has been on their coaching staff since the 2014 season.
“I have informed outside linebackers coach Joey Porter that we will not renew his contract,” Tomlin said. “These are difficult decisions when it comes to someone like Joey who has meant a lot to this organization as both a player and coach. I want to thank Joey for his coaching efforts over the past five years on our defensive staff. We wish him the best in his future coaching career.”
Multiple reports indicate that Porter’s departure may not be the last from the coaching staff and the changes may indicate that the messy end to the 2018 season has increased the heat under Tomlin heading into the 2019 season.
Porter’s tenure as an assistant coach may be best remembered for an on-field confrontation with former Bengals cornerback Adam Jones in a January 2016 playoff game. Porter came on the field after wide receiver Antonio Brown was injured by a hit from Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict and Jones was penalized for shoving him after they got in each other’s faces.
The penalty helped the Steleers move into position for a game-winning field goal. Porter was later fined $10,000 by the league and the NFL issued a tweak to the rules that barred assistant coaches from going on the field for any reason after the incident.