Dolphins coach Sparano benches controversial LB Porter vs. Bucs
Joey Porter won't make any tackles this weekend, either.
Less than 24 hours before kickoff, the Miami Dolphins' outspoken linebacker was ruled out of Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a coach's decision. The Dolphins didn't give any information about the reason for Saturday's move by coach Tony Sparano.
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Porter has been slowed by a sore right hamstring for much of the season, but he fully participated in practice Friday and was listed as probable for Sunday's game. Sparano even praised the linebacker's attitude. However, Porter created quite a stir during his weekly NFL Network appearance on Nov. 5, when he claimed that officials treat New England's Tom Brady differently than other quarterbacks.
"When a guy can tell a ref when to throw a flag and he gets it and stuff like that, I mean he got his own rules," Porter said. "They made the whole 'don't go at the legs (rule)' because of Tom. So whenever he feels that somebody is coming at his legs, he just points at the ref and he gets the flag. So you got to honestly say that he has his own set of rules."
Porter also said that he hates the Patriots, "especially after the cheating they did back in the day," referring to the 2007 videotaping scandal that cost the team its 2008 first-round draft pick. But Porter did little to back up his words last Sunday, failing to make a tackle in Miami's 27-17 loss at New England.
Brady admitted after the game that Porter's words fired up the Patriots.
When he next appeared on NFL Network, Porter didn't want to dwell on his controversial comments, choosing to look ahead to the game against the Bucs.
“You know, even me, I know that after you lose a game and you don’t perform, at some point in time, you have to take a step back,” Porter said Thursday. “We lost a tough one that we wanted to win and was going to put us in a better situation than we’re in now. But, at the same time, they won that game. Now we’re on to the next. We have to get ready for Tampa.”
Porter has just 2½ sacks this season, compared with an AFC-high 17½ last year, and he declined to talk to local reporters this week. However, Sparano talked about Porter after Friday's practice.
"I see no frustration," Sparano said. "What I do see is a guy that's played in enough football games to know, 'There are some things I need to do better out there.' There are a lot of things that people say about Joey that are not always favorable, but one of the good things about Joey is the guy's a pretty good pro. He takes it personally. The guy cares."
Porter missed the Dolphins' Oct. 4 game against the Buffalo Bills because of his injury. The Dolphins likely will start Charlie Anderson or Matt Roth in Porter's place against the Bucs.
In an unrelated move, the Dolphins signed tight end Kory Sperry from the practice squad.
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