Pittsburgh Steelers fire OLB coach Joey Porter

Jan. 4 (UPI) — Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made the first adjustment to his coaching staff this offseason after he promised changes were coming.

The team released a statement from Tomlin on Friday and announced that outside linebackers coach Joey Porter was relieved of his role, which he held since 2014.

“I have informed outside linebackers coach Joey Porter that we will not renew his contract,” Tomlin said in the 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 was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft and played with the franchise until 2006. Pittsburgh transitioned to Tomlin as the new coach, eventually leading to the linebacker’s release in 2007.

The Miami Dolphins signed Porter and he played with the team for two seasons. He finished his playing career with the Arizona Cardinals (2010-11).

Porter was a four-time Pro Bowler and won Super Bowl XL as a member of the Steelers. He earned All-Pro honors four times in his NFL career.

This season, the Steelers finished in a tie with the Kansas City Chiefs for most sacks in the league (52). The team also ranked sixth in yards allowed per game (327.2), but struggled to close out games late in the season as they lost four games by seven points or less and missed the postseason for the first time since the 2013 season.

The status of other coaching staff personnel is unknown. Current defensive coordinator Keith Butler has one year remaining on his contract.

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