Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers can feel that there are significant changes coming on the horizon. Over the past 12 months, we have already had Ramon Foster and Maurkice Pouncey retire. A number of significant pieces are slated to depart in free agency. Right now, we don’t even know for sure that Ben Roethlisberger is coming back. The reality is that by this time next year, the team could look a lot different.
Assuming that Roethlisberger does return, we know that the 2021 season will certainly be different for him. His long-time center now retired, his good friend Randy Fichtner let go as offensive coordinator, and now shifting to a Matt Canada offense, he will likely be playing without James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Alejandro Villanueva, not to mention Vance McDonald.
That’s a lot to take all at once, but no blow was bigger than Pouncey retiring, and his comments to Gerry Dulac over at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette made that pretty clear, based on what he said of his 11-year teammate, who started as a rookie in 2010 and never looked back.
“I hate to say he’s the greatest teammate and competitor I’ve ever been around, but at the end of the day that’s what it is — he’s the greatest teammate and competitor I’ve been around”, Dulac quoted him as saying, adding that it wasn’t to be taken as a slight against anybody else.
One thing he made sure to be let known is where he believes they’ll meet again: in the Hall of Fame. While he didn’t say himself that he expects to be in the Hall of Fame, it should be taken as a given, and he voiced his support for Pouncey’s eventual enshrinement. “He deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame. There’s no doubt in my mind it should happen”, he said.
This is a topic that we have already addressed a couple of times since the news came out. Fewer centers actually make it into the Hall of Fame than do guards and tackles—for not the least of which being that there is only one on the field at a time, as opposed to two—but the Steelers do have two that are already in, in Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson.
If he does get enshrined, of course, it will almost surely be after a waiting period. We just saw how long Alan Faneca had to wait before he was finally selected for enshrinement earlier this year. Dawson himself waited a number of years before finally getting the call. Pouncey’s career was no more remarkable than theirs.