Porter: 'This is football'

Updated: September 20, 2004, 4:05 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens won't soon forget the hit Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter leveled on an injured tight end Todd Heap during the second quarter of Sunday's 30-13 rout of the Steelers.

Heap had twisted his right ankle on the previous play, then gingerly took his place on the line as Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller prepared to spike the ball. As Boller thrust the ball downward, Porter shoved Heap backward with a show of brute force.

Heap could barely lift himself off the turf and was removed for the remainder of the game.

Ravens coach Brian Billick said Monday that Heap could miss two to four weeks with a severely sprained right ankle.

After the hit Sunday, the Ravens were livid over Porter's seemingly unnecessary hit.

"It just shows what type of character that guy has," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "When you take a cheap shot like that and just try to hurt somebody, it goes way outside of your character and shows what type of spirit he really has. You just pray for him."

Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister called Porter an unprintable name and said, "There's no reason for anyone to take a cheap shot like that."

Billick wondered aloud why the rules would permit such an unsportsmanlike act.

"We are awful concerned about receivers turning their shoulders, going forward on the line of scrimmage, and we talk endlessly about pass interference down the field, but something like that is evidently legal," Billick said. "How about that?"

Porter contended Heap might have been bluffing.

"It looked like he was hobbling, but at the same time, I don't know if he was fake hobbling," Porter said. "I've seen a lot of guys that looked hurt and kept playing. They fall on the ground and get up and run a play.

"I didn't hit him, I pushed him. It's not like I took a cheap shot at him and ran in there and hit him. I pushed him with my hands. This is football."

Porter figured the Ravens expressed their displeasure on the field as a way of getting the fans riled up.

"It's just a thing to get the crowd into it, to boo me and make me out to be the bad guy," he said. "So I'm fine with that."

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.