The Pittsburgh Steelers will get their starting center back this week against the Cardinals. Here’s what Maurkice Pouncey had to say about his suspension.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended two games for his actions in the closing seconds against the Browns in Week 11. As Pittsburgh looked to run out the clock with one final play, quarterback Mason Rudolph was taken to the ground by Myles Garrett. Shortly after, chaos ensued after Rudolph was clubbed over the head with his own helmet.
Pouncey, who is known for having his teammates’ backs, threw punches at Garrett and even kicked him while he was down. The former All-Pro center was initially given a three-game suspension for his actions, but was later reduced to two games after his appeal.
While it’s obviously never a good thing to lose one of your best offensive lineman, Pouncey is looking on the bright side. Here is some of what he had to say, according to Teresa Varley of the Steelers official website:
"“I feel like this is the beginning of the year. I have a lot of energy. We’re going to see how things turn out today at practice. I know all of the guys are excited. We just have to stay humbled and focused… It’s a little bit different when you are not hurt or injured and you are just watching at the house. I actually got up on Sunday and went and did some cardio. I felt like I was playing. To sit at the house like that was totally different. You’re sitting there wanting to play so bad, but you knew there was support, texting the guys saying good luck.”"
Pouncey made it clear that his time off wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. While many might wonder if it was indeed good for him to miss the last two weeks of practice, Pouncey assures the media that he has “a lot of energy” from his time off.
Fortunately, the Steelers were able to hold down the fort with B.J. Finney during his absence – winning both games and advancing to 7-5 on the season.
Maurkice Pouncey already has had a few terrible snaps this season; one of them almost cost Pittsburgh the game against the Rams. However, he has been snapping footballs for nearly a decade in Pittsburgh and he shouldn’t have any issues getting back up to speed.
When Pouncey takes the field on Sunday, it will be with a new quarterback fielding his snaps. Devlin Hodges was impressive against the Browns last week – outpacing former 1st overall pick, Baker Mayfield, in passing yards, completion percentage, yards per attempt, and quarterback rating.
The Steelers offensive line will be challenged this week by pass rusher Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs. The two edge defenders have combined for 18.5 sacks on the sesaon. While these defenders won’t be Pouncey’s responsibility, it will be his job to keep a clean pocket in the middle for his new quarterback.
Pittsburgh has a serious shot at making the playoffs this year. They can ill-afford to drop a game this week to a 3-8-1 opponent. Let’s hope everyone is in sync.