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Porter, Foote Consider Cards

Free-agent linebackers, former Steelers teammates visit Tempe


Free-agent linebackers Joey Porter (left) and Larry Foote just completed a visit to Arizona.
Joey Porter and Larry Foote were together again.

They're hoping it isn't short-lived.

The former Steelers linebackers were at the Cardinals' Tempe facility Thursday conducting parallel free-agent visits as they search for a new team. If they end up signing in Arizona – something both said was attractive to them – they will be on the same team together since 2006, when they teamed with current Cardinals linebacker Clark Haggans.

"That'd be a dream come true to reunite again," Foote said.

"Arizona was one of the ones on my list if not the best one on my list," Porter said. "The visit went good. There are still teams I have to go visit but (the Cardinals) can make it where I don't have to visit."

Familiarity drew both to consider the Cardinals. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt – along with current assistant coaches Russ Grimm, Matt Raich and Kevin Spencer – was on the Steelers' staff while Foote and Porter were in Pittsburgh.

Need is also a huge factor. Two of the four starters from last season's linebacking corps need to be replaced. Inside linebacker Karlos Dansby has already left as a free agent, and outside pass rusher Chike Okeafor, also a free agent, probably will not return. Foote would replace Dansby in the lineup, while Porter would be expected to slide into Okeafor's role.

Haggans – who played with Foote and Porter with the Steelers – remains the probable starter at the other outside spot, while veteran Gerald Hayes remains the other inside linebacker.

"I know what Whiz is all about," Porter said. "I don't have to be blindsided by some new coaches trying to wonder how I fit. I know how he'd use me if I was here. I just want to be a piece of the puzzle.

"I saw so many familiar faces, guys that coached me in Pittsburgh. They have bigger titles so I was happy to see those guys get upgraded … I know a lot of guys on the team, Bryant McFadden, Sean Morey, Clark Haggans. If it happens, it'll be good fit. I feel I can fill a need, that whole presence of getting to the quarterback."

Neither player knew of any contract offers yet, although Porter admitted he had messages on his cell phone from his agent he had yet to check.

"I want to be a Cardinal," Foote said. "So hopefully we'll get it done."

Foote, who turns 30 in June, led the Lions in tackles last season in his lone season playing in Detroit. Porter, who turns 33 later this month, had nine sacks in 14 games for Miami last season.

Foote already visited Washington, and the Redskins remain interested in signing him. There are also reports the Steelers – who released Foote after the 2008 season because of Foote's salary – have interest in bringing Foote back. An report said Foote is eyeing the recent contract signed by free-agent Scott Fujita in Cleveland (three years, $14 million with $8 million guaranteed) as a target for his own new deal.

Yet Arizona is his preferred destination. "Clark's been recruiting me all year during the season," Foote said. "I'm quite sure he was playing my agent with the coaches upstairs."

Porter's first visit was to Arizona although he expects others unless the Cards quickly sign him. He wants to not only play for a team that fits his style, but also play in the West so he can be near his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif.

Porter was released by Miami after butting heads with coaches, going public with his irritation with losing playing time to younger players.

"I don't feel I have to sell myself," Porter said. "With my role being reduced … I (still) had nine sacks. It's not one of my best years but look around the league, there are starters who have four or five."

Porter acknowledged he was encouraged by the desire for the coaches and possible teammates to have him come in – defensive tackle Darnell Dockett in particular, given Dockett's constant Twitter comments along those lines. Dockett tweeted on the subject again Thursday.

"Joey Porter and Larry Foote visiting today," Dockett wrote. "Let's go Whiz! Make this happen I'll run extra gassers and do the laundry in training camp!"

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