Did we just become best friends?
Ok, it’s safe to say Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster have been best buds for awhile now. And it made each of them receiving new contracts at the same time; one that keeps Foster in Pittsburgh, one that’ll let Pouncey stay here long, all the sweeter.
In a Skype interview with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews, Foster explained how everything went down.
“It was wild,” Foster said. “We have the same agent and he didn’t tell us at all about what was going on. So here I was, he was calling me frantic. I’m like, ‘what’s wrong?’ He’s like, ‘dude, they want to sign me too.’ I’m like, ‘no way.’ When you’re friends how we are, it was really cool to lock that up.”
Foster and Pouncey are the two elder statesmen of the Steelers’ offensive line. Foster was first, signed as a UDFA in 2009, while Pouncey was the high-profile draft pick, the team’s first selection the following year. Two drastically different beginnings still led to the same end-point, starting next to each other, Foster at left guard, Pouncey in the middle, for several years.
“It’s just kinda how it worked out. From the beginning, our relationship wasn’t a forced one. When he came in, we naturally kinda gravitated towards each other.”
It’s fair to say the offensive line is the closest group of the entire team. Part of that is in thanks to stability, there haven’t been many moving pieces, but it’s also the personality of the group. It’s hard to find a selfish, “me-first” type there. They’re humble, selfless, hard-working, all the qualities needed in the big guys up front. The cohesion they’ve built is create on the field, in practice, in meetings, during the game, but strengthened off it, like the Thursday dinners at Pouncey’s house.
Guys like Foster and Pouncey have carried the baton from the group before them. Linemen like Chris Kemoeatu, Willie Colon, and Max Starks. But they’ll look to do something the previous group didn’t get to do. Play for one team and go out on their terms.
Colon spent a couple years in New York. Starks had a short stay in St. Louis. Kemoeatu never played for another team but was released by the team before his contract was up. In a perfect world, now made possible by these new deals, Foster and Pouncey can stay in Pittsburgh until they retire.
Should that happen, they’ll join Jon Kolb and Dirt Dawson as the only Steelers’ offensive linemen with 130+ career starts – Pouncey will get there if he plays out his contract – to never play for another team.