Maurkice Pouncey made a bad decision that cost him and his team when he began to attack Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, throwing fists and feet, after watching him assault his teammate, Mason Rudolph, by striking him over the head with his own helmet.
For that act, the 10th-year center was suspended for three games and fined over $30,000, though the suspension was reduced to two games. His backup, B.J. Finney, handled his own during the first game of his suspension, but on Sunday, Pouncey will also sit out the rematch against Cleveland—though, of course, so will Garrett, who is serving an indefinite suspension.
While the center’s choice to go after Garrett ended up hurting the team, there doesn’t appear to be any blame in the locker room. If anything, what he did was appreciated. He had Mason Rudolph’s back, at perhaps one of the lowest moments of his life. That’s who he is, and always has been.
Brook Pryor of ESPN talked to some of his high school teammates who knew Pouncey and his family, and they talked about how that’s a product of the way in which they were brought up. This isn’t a mystery to us, though.
Pouncey helped two of his college teammates, Marcus Gilbert and later Chris Rainey, get drafted by the Steelers because he vouched for them. He—and his twin Mike Pouncey—considered them brothers, the way he does his closest teammates today.
Ramon Foster recalled a time that he told Pouncey that he was like a brother. The center corrected him, saying, “’no, you are my brother’. I know for sure he meant that, in the sense of, you never question me, you never doubt his intentions”.
Alejandro Villanueva also talked about how he had his back during the anthem controversy in the early portions of the 2017 season. He said that Pouncey is not so much loyal as he is fair with everybody—though Pouncey literally has ‘loyalty’ tattooed on his body.
As Pryor recaps, of course, that sometimes works against him, as when the two brothers maintained their support for friend and former college teammate Aaron Hernandez after he was accused of murder. Rainey also got himself into trouble. And his brother, Mike, was implicated in Richie Incognito’s suspension-worthy conduct in Miami.
That’s the good and the bad of it. As Villanueva said, “he’s the guy that’s always going to back you no matter what. Almost to a fault”. But you can be sure that when he steps back into the locker room on Monday, he’s going to be swarmed by his teammates.