Porter ready to send Seahawks to sideline
PONTIAC, Mich. -- Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter kept up his verbal barrage against the Seahawks, saying Thursday the Steelers will be so physical in the Super Bowl they will try to make Seattle quit playing.
"We're going to try to tap out as many people as we can, I'm going to put it like that," Porter said at the Steelers players' final pre-Super Bowl news conference. "We're going to try to send as many people to the sideline as we can."
Asked what he meant by "tap out," Porter patted the top of his head with his hand -- a sign that the player is tired or injured and wants to be taken out of the game.
Porter's latest comments came a day after he ripped Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens' seemingly harmless comment that Seattle planned to spoil Jerome Bettis' retirement party by winning the Super Bowl.
Stevens seemed mystified by Porter's reaction, calling it "ridiculous."
But, a day after both players sat at small tables with few people around them at Super Bowl news conferences, each was given a podium to accommodate the large crowds that wanted to hear them Thursday.
"Some people need something to be motivated. If that's what he found, that's what he found," said Stevens, normally unaccustomed to such attention. "I don't feel I was out of line. I meant what I said. I am not going to repeat it to stir something up. I meant it, and I meant it with no disrespect."
Both coaches also tried to play down any effect on the game by Porter's constant talking. Seattle coach Mike Holmgren talked to his team about not creating any more distractions.
"I used to lecture my children, too. As much as I'd like to think they're perfect, they're not," Holmgren said.
Steelers coach Bill Cowher said Porter has always been emotional and "was only being himself."
Porter said he wouldn't have said anything if Stevens hadn't talked.
"I don't want to go into a situation where you can't say how you really feel and you're acting like it's going to be a nice day," Porter said. "It's not going to be a nice day. They're trying to come out and win the same trophy I want to win and only one of us can have it.
"Now I know how they really feel, and now I can tell you know how I really feel, I don't have to hold any punches any more. If they're looking for a fight, I've been ready for a fight," Porter said.
Despite the stir, Stevens doesn't think any of the comments will affect the outcome.
"This is something I wish I didn't have to deal with but it's not that big a deal," Stevens said. "What's said right now won't have any impact on Sunday. I'm pretty close to unaffected. It doesn't have any bearing on how I'm going to approach the game."
Several other Steelers acted as if they wished Porter hadn't spoken out and possibly given the Seahawks extra motivation, especially during a week that otherwise has seen the two teams be respectful of each other.
"We had to keep him on a gag order a little bit," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "But if they start it, Joey is going to finish it. Trust me."
Steelers linebacker James Farrior laughed when he heard the "tap out" comment, saying he's never seen an NFL player ask to be taken out because the game was too rough.
"I don't know if he's going to be able to tap anybody out, this is the Super Bowl," Farrior said. "He's going to really have to play hard to tap somebody out."
The Seahawks aren't accustomed to Porter's outbursts, as the Steelers and most of the AFC teams are, and Farrior suggested that might account for the stir created by Porter's words.
Earlier in the playoffs, Porter suggested the Colts also were a soft team. Then, after the Steelers upset Indianapolis 21-18, Porter accused the game officials of "cheating" the Steelers and suggested the NFL badly wanted Peyton Manning and the Colts to win.
Cowher then stepped in and ended that talk, calling his own player's comments "ridiculous."
Farrior said it wouldn't be a big game if Porter wasn't talking.
"That's Joey," Farrior said. "If you think that was the best of him ... that was nothing. Half the time we laugh at it and think it's pretty funny. It's no big deal. We've still got to go out and play this game. It's the Super Bowl, so we don't need any extra motivation."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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