This past January, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was quoted as saying he will follow quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out the door whenever the teams longtime signal caller decides to retire.
“I say all the time: The moment he walks away, I’m walking right behind him,” Pouncey told Sports Illustrated’s S.L. Price. “You get so used to playing with that type, man, and I don’t know if I’m ready to walk into a huddle with another quarterback. I don’t think I’ll ever be.”
Pouncey made those comments prior to Roethlisberger saying right after the team’s loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game that he was unsure if he’d continue playing in 2017. Ultimately and unsurprisingly, however, Roethlisberger eventually announced in early April that he would indeed play in 2017 and that was probably welcome news to not only Pouncey, but the entire organization as well.
While Roethlisberger is set to play in 2017, he has since indicated that he’s not ready to commit to playing after that even through his current contract runs through the 2019 season. Because of that, Pouncey was asked recently by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com if he still intends on following Roethlisberger should he decide to retire after the 2017 season is over.
“I don’t know. It would be such a hard decision at that point,” Pouncey told Fowler. “You get so used to playing with a great quarterback like that. For it to switch up, maybe try it out for one year of experience or two to see how things go, but man, it would be real hard.”
In short, it sounds like Pouncey is still leaving the door open to him continuing playing should Roethlisberger decide he’s had enough next offseason.
In a perfect world, both Roethlisberger and Pouncey will play out their current contracts as they both expire after the 2019 season. While Pouncey will have had 10 years in the league at that point, he will still only be 30 years old and thus could have a few more years left in him should he decide to continue his career.
If, however, Roethlisberger does ultimately call it quits prior to his current contract ending, Pouncey might have a tough decision on his hands. It’s yet to be seen if the Steelers have anything in rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs when it comes to him potentially being able to take over and perform at a high level should Roethlisberger decide to walk away sooner rather than later.
“It will be hard for me to come back if he’s not here,” Pouncey told Fowler. “Whenever you’re playing with that level of quarterback, to try to switch that up would be a different mojo for everybody on the team.”
For now, Pouncey is just happy that Roethlisberger decided to play at least one more year.
“I’m glad he came back. We need him to win a championship around here,” Pouncey said.
Pouncey, by the way, told Fowler this past weekend that the rest of his offseason will be spent doing personal two-a-days from now until training camp gets underway in late July.