Even though Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin remained very guarded about the health of injured center Maurkice Pouncey over the course of the entire season, team president Art Rooney II said Thursday during his end of the season talk with the media that he expects the team’s former first-round draft pick out of Florida to bounce back in 2016.
“We certainly are looking forward to Maurkice continuing to be a major contributor,” Rooney said, according to Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times.
After the Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs, Tomlin said that Pouncey looks “great,” as he looks to overcome an ankle and fibula that he suffered in the team’s third preseason game Aug. 23 at Heinz Field. Tomlin, however, did admit that he never had serious conversations with Pouncey about him possible playing this past season.
Something obviously went wrong with Pouncey after his initial surgery and based on several pictures the center posted over the course of the season, he battled an infection in his ankle. A second surgery was needed midway through the season and thus it’s not shocking that he never had a chance to play in 2015.
Almost all of Pouncey’s 2013 season was wiped out by a knee injury, so this makes two out of the last three seasons that he’s failed to play. When healthy, he is arguably one of the best centers in the game today, however. In his four healthy seasons, Pouncey was named a Pro Bowler in each and was a first-team All-Pro in 2011 and 2014.
Pouncey signed a five-year, $44,136,625 contract extension with the Steelers on June 12, 2014.