While Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey missed essentially two entire seasons in a three-year span, he was considered to have something of a reputation for being injury-prone even before those major injuries took away massive chunks of his professional career.
As a rookie, for example, he was able to start every game during the regular season, but an ankle injury, I believe it was, actually kept him out of the Super Bowl that year. He also missed three games over the course of the next two seasons due to injuries before he missed all but seven snaps of the 2013 season.
But he has been remarkably healthy over the course of the past two years, a fact that should not go unnoticed. He has missed only four snaps so far this season, and that was at the end of the blowout against the Titans, when Chris Hubbard replaced him and many other starters were also pulled.
He did miss time due to injury last season, suffering a thumb injury on the second play of the game in the Steelers’ first meeting with the Ravens. He returned for a brief while after missing about 12 snaps, but had to leave. He also sat out the season finale because the team had nothing to gain in terms of playoff seeding.
Other than that, he has been a constant presence on the field for the team, and nobody has appreciated him being out there more than those closest to him—literally—in starting guards David DeCastro and Ramon Foster.
“I love him and love playing with him”, DeCastro told Chris Adamski. “It’s great to have him. He’s a game-changer, playing with a guy like that leading your offense and especially with the O-line”.
DeCastro is the reason Pouncey missed most of the 2013 season. Early in the season opener, while attempting a cut block, he ended up diving into the back of his center’s knee, tearing his ACL.
“He’s awesome, man” said Ramon Foster, the only lineman with a longer tenure, coming into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2009, a year before Pouncey was taken in the first round. “Just his presence out there, you know you don’t have to worry about him”.
“Mentally, more than anything, the guy is just as smart as quarterbacks in this league. He will tell you, ‘man, I didn’t graduate, but I am a (darn) good football scholar’”.
Pouncey left college a year early to declare for the draft, so he’s right that he didn’t technically graduate. But “he’s one of the smartest football guys I know”, Foster told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter.
For the eighth-year center, so much of the game has fallen by the wayside. What he simply values now is winning, and playing with his brothers. “Those are great honors, but honestly I don’t even think about accomplishments”, he said of his individual accolades.
“I enjoy playing the game. I enjoy being with my guys and the camaraderie. All that other stuff, it just comes with team success”.