No one hated being away from his teammates more than Maurkice Pouncey during his two-game suspension. But it doesn’t sound like he has any regrets.
Officially and fully reinstated to the team today, Pouncey spoke with reporters for the first time since the Thursday brawl that saw him and two other players suspended. His message? A suspension well worth it.
A leader and designated captain in the locker room, it was no surprise to see him stick up for his QB when Mason Rudolph was hit over the head by Myles Garrett. Though it was an ugly moment for the NFL, no one wants to see players kicking and punching on national television, it was an understandable reaction given all that had taken place.
“If you’re my teammate,” he said via Sports Illustrated. “I’ll ride for you no matter what.”
He told reporters he spent the last two weeks working out at Planet Fitness and LA Fitness in the Pittsburgh area in order to get some cardio work in and stay busy while being away from the organization.
Teammates rewarded Pouncey by giving him the game ball after Sunday’s revenge win over the Browns, effectively ending their playoff hopes.
“I never got a game ball sitting at home so that was pretty cool.”
He confirmed Cam Heyward, another captain and leader of the team, brought the game ball to his house following the win.
While the Steelers certainly missed his presence, their output didn’t suffer. Pittsburgh ran the ball for a combined 284 yards the past two weeks. BJ Finney stepped up as the starting center, played well, and earned praise from Pouncey.
“He played outstanding man. Honestly man, he earned a lot of money for himself to be real with you.”
Finney is entering the final year of his contract. Pittsburgh will have a big decision to make this offseason. It’s unlikely they’ll have both Ramon Foster and Finney on the roster come 2020.