Joey Porter has been a familiar face in his Steelers reincarnation from All-Pro outside linebacker to defensive assistant during OTAs, but at the same time he the has been unrecognizable.
"He's not one of these guys who just yells and cusses you out and stuff like that," outside linebacker Jarvis Jones observed of Porter. "We don't get that from any of our coaches.
"That was the player in him."
That's one theory.
Another theory might be that Porter is biding his time, concentrating on the things that should be the focus at this stage of the process, such as the honing of technique and the absorbing of the defensive playbook. The purpose of football in shorts is to teach, so that when they put on the pads in Latrobe guys will be able to play without having to think about where they're supposed to be and what they're supposed to do.
It won't be until then, perhaps, when the players experience the Joey Porter effect at full throttle and full volume.
This much we know: The players Porter is coaching can't get enough instruction and insight from a guy who has been where they all aspire to be someday. That would be to the Pro Bowl, the Super Bowl and a significant figure in Steelers' lore.
"He's a great coach," Jones gushed. "He understands the game, he played it. He played this position, the same position, wore the same uniform that we're wearing. So he understands what it is to be a player."
Inside linebacker Vince Williams is likewise appreciative of what Porter is providing, perhaps even more so than Jones.
"I'm thinking about renting out one of the rooms in his house and just kind of living in there," Williams said. "I want to be 'Baby Joey Porter' in a sense. Not so much as how he played, (because) he played outside, obviously, but just try to pick up the demeanor.
"He was a great player so I just want to learn as much as I can."
Although Porter has yet to be in full throat during OTAs, his trademark intensity has been showing.
"Joey's sure bringing it," Jones said. "Everything we do, we do it as a linebacker group collectively.
"Even in the weight room, some of the bigger guys like Steve (McClendon); Steve lifts the whole weight room. And he'll go lift some weights and Joey will be like, 'I can do that, too.' And we're like, 'Joey, you aren't playing any more. You're coaching us.' But that's the kind of guy he is. If he sees one of us do it he wants to do it, too.
"Even out here doing the bags and all that stuff, he'll go through the bags and hit them with us. It's more hands-on than just talking to us and showing us how to do it, which is great for us."
Jones isn't sure he'll ever achieve Porter's verbal presence, but he's not ruling that out just yet either.
"I'm more quiet," Jones said. "I play physical, all that stuff, but I don't think I do all the yelling. I don't know. He'll probably rub off on me, though. He's been rubbing off on me a lot. We'll see what happens."