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Dolphins downgrade Joey Porter to out

Joey Porter will not play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday.

It is not because he is injured.

It is because coach Tony Sparano has decided to sit him for this game.

The official line is that Porter is out because of "coach's decision."

Club spokesman Harvey Greene tells me that is different than the coach deciding Porter cannot play because of an injury. Were injury the reason, the Dolphins would say Porter is out because of a knee or ankle or whatever.

They obviously are making a distinction that injury is not the reason for the benching. The Dolphins are not offering details for the benching but one can assume performance is also not the reason. Even in the case of benchings for performance, the Dolphins would still use Porter in the game. He will be inactive.

Porter missed two days of practice on Wednesday and Thursday because of a toubled knee. But he returned to practice Friday and was listed as probable on the team's injury report.

Something clearly happened between Friday afternoon when Porter left the practice facility and this afternoon to cause Sparano to bench the weakside outside linebacker. Sparano, it should be noted, seemed quite pleased with Porter during his Friday press conference.

The coach was asked if he believes Porter has been frustrated seeing as the player hasn't had a full sack since September.

“No, I don’t, certainly not," Sparano said. "I see no frustration, I don’t think that he’s affected, but what I do see is a guy that’s played in enough football games to know ‘there’s some things I need to do better out there.’

"There’s a lot of things that people say about Joey that are not always favorable, but one of the good things about Joey is [that] the guy’s a pretty good pro. He sees it, he knows. When he sees it, and he knows, he takes it personally. The guy cares, and I think that’s a hell of a quality to have when you’ve played the game for as many years as Joey, Jason [Taylor], Jason Ferguson, [Chad] Pennington, those kind of guys who’ve played the game.”

Porter has been under the microscope this week after a game in which he had neither a sack nor even a tackle against New England. Prior to that game, Porter called out the NFL and New England quarterback Tom Brady -- basically making the point there exists a conspiracy between the league and Brady on roughing the passer penalties.

After he failed to contribute in Miami's 27-17 loss to the Patriots, Porter refused to speak with the South Florida media most of the week. He did do his weekly scheduled interview on NFL Network in which he vowed to continue being himself.

"I'm going to be me," he promised. "That's the good thing you have to like about me. Win, lose or draw I'm going to tell it like it."

I doubt he'll tell it like it is after this episode.

With Porter out for the game the Dolphins are likely to start Charlie Anderson at weakside outside linebacker or move Jason Taylor from the strong side to the weak side and start Matt Roth on the strong side.

The St. Pete Times, meanwhile, is reporting WR Antonio Bryant and DE Stylez G. White did not travel with the Bucs to South Florida and will not play Sunday.

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