Seattle defender's boasts spark Super Bowl war of words
February 2, 2006
AFP - Feb 2, 9:39 am EST
DETROIT, United States (AFP) - Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter ignited a Super Bowl firestorm, firing verbal volleys at Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens over boastful words that were taken as a victory declaration.
Four days before their squads meet here for the National Football League crown, Porter took issue with Stevens after the Seahawk said Steeler star rusher Jerome Bettis' homecoming and possible farewell would end in defeat.
"It's a heartwarming story and all that but it will be a sad day when he leaves without that trophy," Stevens said. "We feel like we have been the best team in the NFL all year and we are going to show everybody Sunday."
Stevens also made it personal by saying that Porter was impressive in a playoff victory at Denver but would have a tougher time against Seattle blocker Walter Jones.
"He had a huge game in the AFC championship game coming off the edge on the blitz," Stevens said. "I don't think he is going to have such an easy day against Walt, though."
Porter has needed little rousing to start trash talking in the past but had vowed a day earlier not to be goaded into comments that might inspire Seattle players.
Stevens' comments, however, were enough to set Porter's tongue wagging at full speed.
"I've been asleep all week, but now I got woke up. I've got my first taste of blood and now I'm thirsty for more," Porter said. "When they say you are looking for something to get you going, that was it.
"I feel like he definitely was 'out of pocket' to say what he said. I'm going to make sure he owns up to those words.
"He should know his role. He hasn't done anything that makes anybody fear him, while Jerome is a Hall of Famer. He definitely is one who hasn't earned the right to say what's on his mind.
"He said it. It's done now. He will have to face the consequences. Now I'm looking for Stevens. He has to line up in front of me. I'll be out there looking for him. Stevens can't hide from me.
"I'll remind him of it every time I put him on his back."
Stevens continued the exchange upon hearing of Porter's reaction, saying he could not understand what the fuss was about in his self-confident comments.
"I don't feel like I said anything inappropriate. I told the truth," Stevens said. "If he doesn't know who I am, then the surprise will be on him come Sunday. If he's worried more about me than someone else, that's fine with me."
Stevens has caught 54 passes for 649 yards and six touchdowns, four of the scores coming in the past six games.
But Porter dubbed Stevens unworthy of making such comments, calling him a "first-round (draft pick) bust who barely made some plays this season."
"He's too soft to say something like that. He has a lot of nerve," Porter said. "I've got to argue with somebody who is starting, not somebody who is just running on and off the field."
Stevens was not backing down either, escalating the tension factor as teams began their final preparations for the game, the Steelers' first Super Bowl in a decade and the first in the Seahawks' 30-year history.
"I wasn't trying to disrespect Pittsburgh. I respect them a lot and they are a great team," Stevens said. "But we're not here to roll over for anybody. I don't think I said anything too 'out of pocket.'
"I just said we're here to win the game and other than that there is no reason to be here. They are here to win, too. We respect them but don't fear them. We're going to go out there and do what we do."