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Dolphins' New LB Makes Deal Official

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Joey Porter wore a new Miami Dolphins visor, plus had an aqua-and-orange pin on his shirt.

Clearly, the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker is already trying to fit in with his new team.

Porter passed his physical and signed a five-year, $32 million contract Wednesday with the Dolphins, making the former Pittsburgh star the first marquee name to join the club during the free-agent period.

"I came here to Miami to help this team get to a championship," said Porter, who helped the Steelers win the Super Bowl two seasons ago. "I felt this would be a good situation for me, so it didn't take a lot of convincing."

New Dolphins coach Cam Cameron and general manager Randy Mueller flew to California on Monday to see Porter at his home, and their sales pitch worked. Porter -- whom the Steelers released last week in a salary-cap move -- agreed late that night to a deal, one that guarantees him $20 million.

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"We're excited to be able to add Joey to our football team," Cameron said. "He is an impact player who will add many different dimensions to our defense."

The Dolphins play a 3-4 defense, a scheme Porter says best suits him. He joins a unit that ranked fourth in the NFL in yards allowed last season and includes defensive player of the year Jason Taylor.

"It's great that we were able to acquire a player of Joey's caliber," Taylor said. "He has been an impact player in this league for many years, and when you add someone who has the ability to make plays like he does, it will help not just the defense, but the entire team."

Porter joins a linebacker corps that includes Zach Thomas and Channing Crowder. He'll replace Donnie Spragan, a free agent.

"A player of Joey's ability doesn't become available often, especially at a position of need," Mueller said. "We knew that together we all would have to react immediately to be able to sign him, and I was glad with the way we all worked so quickly internally in order to get this done."

The Dolphins have already parted ways with at least 10 players this offseason, but Porter said Cameron and Mueller made it clear to him that the team's goals are as high as ever.

"I didn't look at it as if they're rebuilding," Porter said. "I looked at it as they're trying to put a championship team together. They're already a good team but just a couple of pieces away and, hopefully, I can be part of the puzzle."

Dom Capers, who was with the Steelers before Porter joined that team and is now Miami's defensive coordinator, said he was surprised a player like him became available.

"You're always looking for impact players on the defensive side of the football and they're hard to come by," Capers said. "Joey's career to this point speaks for itself. One of the hardest positions to find in our defensive scheme is a player at the outside linebacker position that can ... rush the passer effectively and be able to drop into coverage."

Several other teams reportedly had interest in Porter, but he said only the Dolphins had the ability to convince him they would be championship-ready.

"Miami is heading in the right direction and making all the right moves," Porter said. "So for me, it was the right fit."

Updated on Wednesday, Mar 7, 2007 4:52 pm EST


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