Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has a lot on his plate right now, what with his team moving deeper into the NFL playoffs and his franchise quarterback walking around in a protective boot because of an ankle injury. So Tomlin probably loved hearing that Joey Porter, one of his assistant coaches and a longtime contributor/conundrum for the franchise, had been arrested for assaulting a doorman at a Pittsburgh bar, resisting arrest, trespassing, and disorderly conduct after the Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins in the wildcard round at Heinz Field.
The Post-Gazette got a look at the criminal complaint and helped flesh out the details about Porter's activities late Sunday/early Monday. The report implies that Porter had too much to drink and was being rowdy, though no one involved has reported any injuries.
According to the complaint, police officer Paul Abel was working an unrelated off-duty assignment when he was informed of an incident involving "a Pittsburgh Steeler" who was threatening a doorman at a South Side bar called The Flats.
Abel reports he saw Porter, 39, standing over doorman John Neskow, who told him: "Last time you (Porter) were here, you threatened to kill me. You need to leave. You are not getting in."
Abel interjected, asking what was happening, but Porter did not answer. Several men who were "not described in court documents" said they could handle the situation. At that point, Abel writes, Porter lunged at Neskow, grabbed him by the arms and lifted him off the ground. The officer intervened, saying he and the unidentified men grabbed Porter by the jacket in order to get him off the doorman, and it escalated:
Officer Abel wrote that Porter, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs about 260 pounds, grabbed him by the wrists and smelled of alcohol. Officer Abel wrote that he is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 145 pounds.
"Porter informed me that he was not touching me, as he was still holding my wrists," Officer Abel wrote. He wrote that Mr. Porter then asked, "Did you hear what he (Neskow) said to me?"
The unidentified men again said, "We got him, Officer. We got him, Officer" and Mr. Porter then "suddenly released" Officer Abel and started backing away into East Carson Street, according to court paperwork.
Officer Abel wrote that he requested back-up and then unzipped his coat "allowing me access to my City of Pittsburgh issued Body Worn Camera, and activated it at this time."
Officer Abel wrote that he followed Mr. Porter until other officers arrived, and Mr. Porter shouted at various times, "No, you are going too far now" or "No! No! I didn't do anything."
After he was handcuffed, Mr. Porter yelled, 'You're lying! I never touched you," according to the complaint.
In 2010, Porter was arrested on suspicion of DUI, but charges were dropped; in 2006, two of his dogs escaped and killed a neighbor's miniature horse. He's also had several incidents that have strained his professional relationships, even one on the field as a coach. After he went on the field during the wild-card round in 2016 and started jawing with Cincinnati's Adam Jones after a vicious hit by Vontaze Bufict, the league toughened a rule that assistant coaches weren't allowed off the sidelines unless they were attending an injured player.
Porter also was jailed near his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. in 2012 for writing a bad check to pay a $70,000 casino debt to the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. Porter had a long and productive NFL career, but also was known for occasional emotional outbursts that put him on the league and his own team's bad side. Infamously, he once used a homophobic slur to describe Kellen Winslow Jr.
Porter is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on January 19.