Immediately following the 2009 regular-season, Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter met with coach Tony Sparano and the two discussed the player's season as well as his future with the team.
It was a frank discussion because, as one source close to Porter said, "Joey's no shrinking violet. He says what's on his mind."
No lie. Porter told Sparano he wasn't happy. He said he was not happy with his number of snaps, which were at times limited during the season. He said he wasn't happy about being suspended for the Nov. 15 Tampa Bay game. He said he believed he was playing out of position at times during the season.
Porter, who feeds on emotion and fancies himself a team leader, apparently believed he was limited in his ability to do what he does best because he often found himself on the sideline rather than in the game.
In short, Porter made it clear that he wasn't happy much of 2009.
It was a private meeting, but the extent of Porter's simmering private unhappiness recently boiled over publicly.
Last week, appearing on Romeo in the Morning on Hot 94.1 in Bakersfield, California, Porter's home town, the enigmatic linebacker told the show host that he didn't want to return to the Dolphins in 2010. He repeated the complaints he made to Sparano -- that he wasn't happy with his role, that he wasn't happy about being benched.
And then, according to two listeners who heard the interview and e-mailed me to report what was said, Porter and Romeo discussed what teams Porter would be happy playing for going forward. Porter discussed wanting to play for a team closer to home. The two joked about Porter not going to the Raiders because Romeo is a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs. (The Chiefs and Raiders are traditional rivals.)
I reached out to Romeo to get a copy of the show, but he said he couldn't help because he does not archive his show. That's the reason I cannot directly quote what Porter said on the air.
The point is this: We knew the Dolphins weren't thrilled with Porter at times during the season. Obviously he was benched for disciplinary reasons. Team sources also spread the word that Porter might not play at all the remainder of the season following that suspension. That obviously didn't happen, but it seemed to be something that was discussed.
And the fact that Porter was injured much of the season and didn't produce at the level he did in 2008 seemed to raise eyebrows on the team that perhaps he was starting to decline. That all led to the possibility that Porter might not return for 2010.
But now we know the feelings seem mutual.
No, Porter has not offically asked to be traded. No, the rift is not irreparable.
But there are major issues.
Jeff Sperbeck, Porter's California-based agent, is expected to try and meet with the Dolphins in Mobile, Ala., this week. Sperbeck declined to speak to The Herald on this topic. But he is expected to seek clarity about the issues Porter had with the team and those the team had with Porter while he and the Miami staff are at the Senior Bowl conducting business.
The meeting could give both sides a clear indication if the Porter-Dolphins union is headed for a divorce or not. If that divorce is to happen, it will most likely come before March 1 when the Dolphins owe Porter a $1 million roster bonus. Later this offseason, they will owe Porter another $200,000 for a workout bonus.
Porter has $2.4 million guaranteed coming this year from the Dolphins regardless of what happens. Of course, that is a blip on the radar in a year there is likely to be no salary cap. Cutting or trading Porter would have no cap ramifications for the Dolphins if there is no collective bargaining agreement and thus no cap.
The purpose of this post is strictly informational. This is not opinion. I'll give you my opinion on all this plus my analysis of what might happen in my post tomorrow.
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