Mike Tomlin promised changes after the Pittsburgh Steelers missed the playoffs. Those changes have begun.
"I have informed outside linebackers coach Joey Porter that we will not renew his contract," Tomlin said in a statement. "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. 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."
Porter played the first eight seasons of his 13-year pro career in Pittsburgh, leaving the team in 2007, when Tomlin arrived.
The 41-year-old joined the Steelers as a defensive assistant in 2014, and has been the team's outside linebackers coach since 2015. Porter's most memorable moment as a Pittsburgh assistant came during a 2016 playoff game against Cincinnati in which the LB coach came onto the field after Antonio Brown went down injured and got into a fracas with Bengals corner Adam Jones, leading to a 15-yard penalty on Cincy. The incident later led to a rule change that barred assistant coaches from going onto the field.
Porter appeared to be a prime candidate to lose his gig this year after a down season for the Steelers defense.
Friday's news likely won't be the last change Tomlin makes in 2019. Defensive coordinator Keith Butler is squarely on the hot seat in Pittsburgh as well.