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Steelers Joey Porter

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A 2003 Taunting Incident By Ray Lewis Enraged Steelers Legend Joey Porter To The Point Of Him Immediately Attempting Fight Lewis In The Parking Lot

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A 2003 Taunting Incident By Ray Lewis Enraged Steelers Legend Joey Porter To The Point Of Him Immediately Attempting Fight Lewis In The Parking Lot

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, Joey Porter was a fierce pass rusher and the emotional leader of the 2005 Steelers Super Bowl XL championship team.  Porter also earned a reputation for being one of the biggest trash talkers in the NFL, with his most memorable moments coming on that 2005 postseason run, calling the Indianapolis Colts soft and targeting Seattle Seahawks tight end, Jerramy Stevens for guaranteeing a Seattle victory.

The Pittsburgh Steelers also have a historic rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens, with the two franchises battling for AFC North supremacy and the most physical football in the NFL this millennium.  When you mix a deep-seeded hatred on the field between the two teams, you are bound for some incredible stories ranging from the Ravens putting a bounty on Hines Ward in 2008, Shannon Sharpe calling Plaxico Burress “Plexiglass” in 2001, and Ben Roethlisberger beating the Ravens after a broken nose in 2010.  But when you add Porter and Ray Lewis into the mix, you know they would be involved in the best story of the rivalry.

Steelers Joey Porter

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, Joey Porter (#55) during a game against the Baltimore Ravens in 2001. | Jamie Squire / Allsport

The 2003 season literally started as a pain in the butt for Porter, who was shot in the rear end in Denver after attending a game between his alma mater Colorado State play their top rival, Colorado.  It occurred in the parking lot and was considered to be a random shooting outside a night club, and it sidelined Porter for the Steelers season opener vs. the Ravens.

Porter and Lewis started jawing during pregame when Lewis tried to establish dominance at Heinz Field, something that did not sit well with Porter.

Troy Polamalu, per Polamalu: The Inspirational Story of Pittsburgh Steelers Safety Troy Polamalu by Jim Wexell was quoted saying:

“Joey Porter wouldn’t take crap from anybody. When people came to our field, they knew this was our home field. Nobody was going to mess with us.”

Things escalated throughout the game and took off when Lewis tackled Amos Zereoue for no gain in the second quarter, then kicked his right leg – mimicking Porter’s trademark celebration when making a big play.  Porter did not take very well to Lewis’ action and was not at all hesitant about calling Lewis out for it. He didn’t pull any punches when it came to the allegations of Lewis’ connections to a murder in Atlanta the week of Super Bowl XXXIV.

Joey Porter, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“I thought he kind of disrespected me. He came out here, he’s doing the boot and telling me this is his house. I think that’s negative. You don’t come and disrespect a man who’s hurt. Why are you worried about me? I’m not even playing. Why are you imitating me? That let me know he doesn’t care. There were times when he was in trouble with the law, his shoulder was hurt, and I went over there and shook his hand and said, ‘Get through it.’ Yet, he wants to make fun of me being hurt? I take that like a slap in the face. You never kick a man when he’s down.”

The slight was felt by the entire Steelers defense, and it inspired the team to cruise to a dominant performance and dismantling of the Ravens, 34-15.  While Lewis was credited with 9 tackles, he barely made any impact as Tommy Maddox shredded the Ravens defense all day, and Porter took a stab at Lewis’ padded tackle statistics.

Joey Porter, per

“He didn’t make a play all day, He caught himself doing the boot, he made one tackle. He’s running around there, running his mouth, doing all that, but if you watch him on film and really look, where was Ray Lewis? He was nowhere to be found. I could have tackled the water boy and had as many tackles as him. He didn’t do nothing today. He’s all mouth. When you talk like that, that’s what happens: You get hit in the mouth. He’s over there crying now, thinking about what went wrong. You got your [rear end] whipped, that’s what.”

Steelers Joey Porter

Joey Porter (#55) circa 2006 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. | Wikipedia

Ray Lewis, who missed the majority of 2002 with a shoulder injury, was told of Porter’s comments and made it personal by dismissing Porter’s accomplishments as a player, including being a First Team All-Pro in his third season as a starter in 2002:

“Why would I argue with Joey Porter? He’s done nothing in this league.”


“The Bus Incident” between the Steelers and Ravens

What happened next depends on who you talk to.  It was reported by Chris Mortensen on ESPN that Joey Porter knocked on the Ravens team bus after the game to call Lewis out.  Mortensen also reported that Lewis came off the bus and David Modell had to separate the players.

However, this was rebutted strongly by Porter, who said that words were exchanged, but were no closer than 50 feet away from the buses.  While Ed Bouchette confirmed that Porter did get into a shouting match near the Ravens’ bus, the reality is that it is more urban legend than fact as claims were made by the Ravens that Porter rounded up some teammates (none were confirmed), but claimed that Burress and Jerome Bettis refused to back Porter up because “they had to play against Ray Lewis again and didn’t want him angry for that game.”

Whether it did or did not happen, the Steelers-Ravens rivalry would only heat up and even took a crazy turn that same season, as a Ravens victory over the Steelers in the finale resulted in an outcome that would haunt the Ravens for two decades.

Porter ultimately made sure Lewis never forgot his name as two years later, it was the Steelers as Super Bowl Champions while the Ravens watched.


What was your favorite Porter memory or rivalry moment? Leave a comment below.


PMP; CSM; CSPO and host of the PMI-TB Agile Podcast. A lifelong Steelers fan, I had the chance of a lifetime when I was able to celebrate Super Bowl XLIII with the team. I love talking everything Steelers from the old days to the new and look forward to working with the team to grow this platform to be the premier Steelers site.



  1. PK

    July 25, 2022 at 4:24 am

    Funny, I wonder how Joey felt seeing Ray get inducted in the HOF?

  2. Henry Frazier

    July 25, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    My favorite memories of porter was how great a magicians he was because when he played against Jonathan Ogden he would Disappear!!!!😆😃😆😃😄😂

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  4. Bill Washinski, Staff Writer

    July 25, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    Probably the same he felt watching him being tried for murder.

  5. Randy

    July 25, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    Playing in a charity softball game in his hometown of Bakersfield in ‘08 and the ump called him out (which he clearly was) & Joey threw the ump out of the game. I had to play catcher that game and he rounded 3rd and I had to tag him out (which I did, had pic evidence) but got clowned cause I stood back out of the way. He was running towards me as if I was a QB or something. Cool dude, but VERY competitive!

  6. Great golly

    July 25, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    Me Lewis? This guy was good but the media made him way overrated.
    Kw don’t read into this that I’m saying he wasn’t a good player, he was. He just loved to run his mouth like many players do.
    There is a reason he can’t stick to a broadcasting job, the ratings drop. In the SB dude ran a punt back and Ray Lewis ran to him not to congratulations him, but to tell him the he was the reason that happened. He asked GOD for it and it happened.
    Paalease. How many times do players ask GOD for a certain play to happen and it doesn’t? The 1 time it does and Ray Lewis tried to take the credit. The look on the returners face said it all… I’m from Maryland and live about 20 mins from the stadium. Never liked Ray Lewis antics.

  7. Harry Nieser

    July 26, 2022 at 10:38 am

    The Steelers playoff game against Indy hands down Joey’s best game

  8. Lito Salgado

    July 26, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    52 HOF…..55 NOT HOF

  9. Donny Blankenship

    July 26, 2022 at 10:07 pm

    It’s funny how Porter talks about Ray not making a play for ONE game. Lewis was one a whole other level than Porter.

  10. Charles

    July 27, 2022 at 6:54 am

    Porter was a thug look who is on a tv show now

  11. Vernon Lawson

    July 28, 2022 at 4:22 am

    Jerry Porter is a clown! #whodey

  12. Joe

    July 29, 2022 at 1:05 pm

    It’s cute how all 10 of Lewis’s fan boys commented on this


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