The first big move Mike Tomlin made after being named head coach of the Steelers in 2007 was to release linebacker Joey Porter in a salary-cap related move.
Tuesday, Tomlin brought Porter, a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 2000’s, back to Pittsburgh, hiring the former All-Pro as a defensive assistant.
Porter, who in 13 seasons had 98 career sacks, including 60 with the Steelers to rank fifth on the team’s all-time list, will work with the team’s outside linebackers, including 2013 No. 1 draft pick Jarvis Jones.
Porter also intercepted 12 passes in his career, including a career-high four for the Steelers in 2002.
Porter joins the Steelers, for whom he played from 1999 through 2006, after one season as student assistant coach at Colorado State, where he was taking classes while completing his degree. Porter starred for the Rams before being selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 1999 draft.
Porter is the third former Steelers player on Tomlin’s staff, joining secondary coach Carnell Lake and fellow defensive assistant Jerry Olsavsky, who helps with the inside linebackers.
“We are excited about having Joey back with the Steelers’ family,” said Tomlin. “Joey spent a number of years with Pittsburgh as a player, and now he’s back to assist the coaching staff. We look forward to his efforts and contributions.”
While Porter’s position is a new one, his hiring makes him the third new assistant on Tomlin’s staff this offseason.
Former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak was hired to replace offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr., who was fired, and James Saxon was hired as the new running backs coach after Kirby Wilson left to take the same position in Minnesota.