Joey Porter is the first victim of the Steelers’ tumultuous season.
Pittsburgh let go of its linebackers coach on Friday, a decision head coach Mike Tomlin called “difficult.”
Porter played with the Steelers from 1999-2006 and joined the coaching staff in 2014.
“These are difficult decisions when it comes to someone like Joey who has meant a lot to this organization as both a player and coach,” Tomlin said in a statement. “I want to thank Joey for his coaching efforts over the past five years on our defensive staff. We wish him the best in his future coaching career.”
There is speculation that Porter won’t be the last coach fired after Pittsburgh stumbled its way down the stretch, missing the playoffs in a season filled with controversy.
Running back Le’Veon Bell famously sat out the season instead of playing for a third time under the team’s franchise player tag, while a growing rift between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and star receiver Antonio Brown has continued into the offseason with the pair no longer on speaking terms after a reported practice altercation.
Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro, missed the Steelers’ season finale and has become the subject of trade rumors despite being in the midst of a four-year, $68 million contract extension.
Firing Porter is likely not the solution for all the drama in Pittsburgh, but is perhaps the first sign of the Steelers trying to restore order.