PITTSBURGH (May 17, 2006) -- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter is backing off tongue-in-cheek comments that he plans to tell President Bush next month that he dislikes how the country is being run.
During the Steelers' minicamp last weekend, Porter was smiling and laughing when he told reporters he had "something to say to Bush" during the Super Bowl champions' June 2 visit to the White House.
"I'm going to have a swagger when I walk in there, too," Porter said. "I'm looking forward to it but, like I said, I have something to tell him, too. I don't like the way things are running right now. I feel like he's got to give me some of my money back, so I got something to tell to Bush."
The Pro Bowl linebacker issued a statement May 17 saying he regrets making comments that some apparently construed as serious.
"I regret that my quotes about our team's upcoming visit to the White House were taken out of context," Porter said in a statement issued by the team. "I am very excited to have an opportunity to visit the White House and meet the president of the United States."
Porter also said his comments were not meant to suggest he disapproves of Bush or the job he is doing.
"We will be guests of the president and I would never do anything to disrespect him," Porter said in the statement. "I consider our upcoming trip an honor and a dream come true. Our entire team is looking forward to visiting the White House and enjoying what promises to be the opportunity of a lifetime."
Porter has long been one of the NFL's most outspoken players on a variety of subjects. He created a stir before the Super Bowl by saying Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens was "soft" and didn't pose a problem for the Steelers.
Stevens scored Seattle's only touchdown in the Steelers' 21-10 victory, but dropped several passes during a mostly ineffective day by the Seahawks offense.