Shula: Porter should've kept it private

Updated: February 5, 2010, 8:09 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Don Shula is astounded by Joey Porter's demands that the Miami Dolphins either trade him or play him and thinks the linebacker should never have publicized his dispute.

"The Joey Porter thing, I think that's just outrageous with him coming out like that," Shula told The Palm Beach Post Wednesday. "He obviously wants out. I'm sure he'll be accommodated."

Bothered by injuries last season, Porter, 32, played in only 12 games, but he still had nine sacks and was unhappy with Miami's youth movement.

"They want to play younger guys," Porter said on ESPN's "Jim Rome is Burning" from Miami on Monday. "They want me to be a rotation guy. I got a lot of football left in me to be a rotation guy. I don't get paid like a rotation guy. I'm not ready to take that role. I'm not ready to be a role player. I'm still a starter. I still play at a high level. I feel like I can start for any team in the NFL. With me feeling like that, no, I'm not happy."

Shula, who coached the Dolphins to a perfect season and won a league-record 347 games, told the newspaper that disagreements over contracts have always existed, but they were kept private in the past.

"That could have been done with him going in and visiting the Dolphin decision-making people and doing it quietly," Shula told The Post.

Dolphins fullback Lousaka Polite said he wants Porter to return.

"Definitely I'd like to have a guy like that back," Polite said Thursday, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "He's the heartbeat of the defense, a leader. He's a great player. He's been around this league. He knows what it takes. So who wouldn't want a Joey Porter on the team?"

Dolphins free-agent cornerback Nate Jones also said he supports Porter.

"I love Joey," said Jones, according to the Sun-Sentinel. "I love the energy he brings, love the player he is. I'm his [locker] neighbor, you know what I mean? Love Joey. Love Joey. Leader. But this is a business, and things are going to happen."

In 2008, Porter had 17½ sacks and the Dolphins went 11-5 to win the AFC East. Miami slipped to 7-9 last season, and Porter's time on the field diminished.

"He doesn't play for Team Joey or this team over here. He plays for the Dolphins," Jones said, according to the Sun-Sentinel. "That emblem is bigger than Joey, Sparano, everybody. That's what Sparano preached all year, and that's what we abided by."

Porter told WQAM Radio in Miami on Tuesday that as his role diminished last season, he talked with coach Tony Sparano only on Sundays and stopped speaking with football czar Bill Parcells or general manager Jeff Ireland.

Porter was unhappy about being replaced by pass-rush specialist Cameron Wake in some situations.

"First you start off with coming out when I'm tired to keep me fresh for the rest of the season," he said. "Then it's I play a series, he plays a series, I play a series, that's different."

Porter said he was told by the team that they didn't want the 11-year veteran to stand in the way of the development of younger players. The four-time Pro Bowler doesn't see why the team wants to keep him if that's the case.

"When you're winning all of this stuff is swept away," Porter said. "Asking me going in this year seeing how last season went, asking me to come in and play that role again, I can honestly say I won't come back and do that.

"Why pay all that money and make me a role player? You make me a role player you're really saying you don't want me."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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