Morel is a native of Bakersfield, Calif., so the link to the Steelers? Porter, who also grew up in Bakersfield prior to moving on to college and pro football.
"My dad coached high school football," Morel said, "and we got close to Joey Porter, so when he got drafted by the Steelers [in 1999], the whole family became fans, and I've been following them since."
Quite literally, on this occasion: Porter, the former linebacker, rejoined the Steelers as a defensive assistant coach on Mike Tomlin's staff earlier this month.
This is the second "fresh start" in two months for Morel, the onetime regular White Sox third baseman who had been claimed on waivers by the Blue Jays in December.
"It didn't work out [in Toronto], but I'm real excited about this opportunity here," Morel said after his first morning around the Pirates. "It seems like a great group of guys. All they want to do is win, and I just hope I can be one of the 25 guys to help them do that."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.