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Miami Sound Machine

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  November 5, 2009 11:02 AM

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Christopher L. Gasper
No matter how much he hates the Patriots, you got to love Joey Porter.

You don't have to like him. You can shower him with boos, but don't hate him.

The Dolphins have singer Gloria Estefan as part of their ownership group, but Porter is the real Miami Sound Machine.

The motor-mouth Miami linebacker is a breath of fresh air in the corporate, buttoned-down, silence-please NFL. Most successful teams in the league nowadays are petrified to provide any motivational sound bites or bulletin-board material to the opposition, and bromides, coach-speak and false praise are the preferred patois.

In case you missed it during his conference call with the Patriots media yesterday, Porter restated his abhorrence for all things Patriots.

Porter started off by talking about the Patriots-Dolphins rivalry and then slipped in an allusion to Spygate and the two AFC title games the Patriots won over Porter's former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, during the 2001 and 2004 seasons.

"This is my third year in this [division] going up against them, and we're trying to change the way it used to be," said Porter. "But my feeling towards New England goes back further. It goes back to my Pittsburgh days. I felt a certain way after some things came out way back when I was with Pittsburgh, some AFC championships I lost to them a couple of times, come to figure out months later why we lost, so I have a natural hate for them, period, and that's just going to be with me forever. That's not going to really change."


This is nothing new for Porter. Last year before the team's second meeting Porter accused the Patriots of punting into the area where the Dolphins were warming up before the team's first meeting, which Miami won 38-13.

"I don't like them," Porter said last November. "It's always about respect."

You may remember that before the team's first meeting last season, Porter impugned former Patriots backup Matt Cassel, saying that since Miami wasn't playing Tom Brady "it shouldn't be that hard" and that the Dolphins were going to treat Cassel "like you treat a backup" by throwing "the kitchen sink at him."

With players like Porter it's all about wearing the appropriate laundry.

If Porter were a Patriot, fans here would love him -- love him -- the same way they loved Rodney Harrison, who also had a penchant for talking smack, getting under the opponents' skin, and ending up on the Sports Illustrated NFL player poll of the league's dirtiest players, just like Porter.

No one is ripping Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo for his trash-talking and opponent-baiting because he is wearing the uniform of the hometown team. We applaud Rondo's moxie for not backing down from Chris Paul or Kobe Bryant. He plays with an edge.

So does Porter.

Sometimes Porter's accomplishments -- he's a four-time Pro Bowler -- are overshadowed by how much he talks. The Patriots have been trash-talk targets before, but rarely have those players been able to back it up (see: Mitchell, Freddie and Smith, Anthony).

After he antagonized Cassel last year, Porter delivered a career-high-tying four sacks and a forced fumble. When the Steelers ended the Patriots' record 21-game win streak in 2004, Porter was right in the middle of it with three sacks and two forced fumbles. In nine career games against the Patriots, including the playoffs, Porter has 12 sacks and four forced fumbles.

That type of production speaks for itself and speaks to that task that Patriots rookie left tackle Sebastian Vollmer could have on Sunday against Porter. English isn't Vollmer's first language, although the native of Germany speaks it extremely well. However, he's likely to hear things he's never heard before from the boisterous Porter.

"Oh yeah, it just depends on whether you buy into it or not," said Patriots reserve offensive lineman Kendall Simmons, who played with Porter in Pittsburgh for five seasons. "You got a person with a short fuse it don't take much because it's easy for it to bother you. I've seen him do it to rookies so much. You just laugh, sort of like, 'Why are you picking on that guy?' You get used to it. You just got to know who he is."

Porter might be a Dolphin, but his approach is like a shark's.

"Once he sees blood, you can almost forget it. There ain't no stopping him. Once you show a little bit of weakness then you're in trouble," said Simmons.

Porter is unfiltered, but his verbal jabs are not done without thought or reason. He talks when he wants to talk.

He refused to be baited into any trash talk of Vollmer, when it was pointed out to him that Vollmer was a backup just like Cassel.

"I'm not falling for none of the little tricks," said Porter. "I mean I get mad when I want to get mad. ...If that's what this conversation is going to be about -- fishing -- you all can come down to Miami and we got some good lakes for y'all to fish in."

Simmons, who spoke before Porter's comments to the New England media, said the constant chatter isn't an act.

"Joey is somewhat the same off the field except for a toned-down version of that," said Simmons. "He is just a competitor, period. He's one of those type of people that even playing golf with him all the time during the off-season he is going to do whatever he can to get in your head. That's just how he is. You get used to it. You play with him, and you be around him for a long time you learn to tune it out."

It turns out that Porter silences himself during games. Simmons said Porter gets so hyped up and talks so much that he goes hoarse.

There is another way for the Patriots to silence Porter on Sunday and that's by making him eat his words.

In the end, actions always speak louder than words -- even the entertaining ones of Joey Porter.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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