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Strutting between piles of sopping green towels, a diamond-studded watch glinting on his wrist, Joey Porter holds court with a mosh pit of reporters on his way out of the Dolphins locker room. Fresh off a spine-crushing, game-clinching sack against the 49ers that sealed yet another win for the reborn Miami Dolphins, Porter is feeling, of all things, modest.
"I just had a chance to make a play and got a good jump," Porter says with a shrug. "Honestly, we messed up so much during the drive, I guess our focus on defense is even greater when they get all the way down to the goal line."
Why so humble, Mr. Peezy? A new coach and a new quarterback have certainly helped re-engineer a corpse of a franchise (1-15 last year) into a Frankenstein of a playoff contender, but there's no chance that without Porter and his league-leading 17.5 sacks the Dolphins would even be winners in 2008.
To top it all off, no one in the NFL has captivated America with his mouth quite like Porter has this season. First, Porter — who owns a couple of pit bulls — defended Michael Vick's extracurricular activities because "it's not like he was fighting cocker spaniels or something." Then Porter decided to solve the financial crisis by explaining his plan: "I'm about to go dig a hole in my back yard and put [my money] ... where I can see it." Who can forget when the feisty linebacker got in a yo-mama name-calling battle with Broncos wideout Brandon Marshall, who came up with the classic comeback that Porter has "popcorn muscles"?
And in perhaps his finest performance of the year, Porter last week said he felt for Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who had just shot himself in the leg in a nightclub, and revealed he too carries a handgun —"a little buddy I keep with me" — since he got capped in the ass outside a Denver nightclub in 2003.
With two games left — at Kansas City and a tough season-ending matchup against the Jets in cold-as-balls New Jersey — the Dolphins still probably need to win both to get into the postseason. But Porter is already a lock for the Chad Ocho Cinco Memorial Award for Achievement in Verbal Diarrhea.
As Porter shoulders his bag, brushes off the salivating reporters hoping for something juicier, and walks off into the tunnel, the air whooshes right out of the locker room with him.