MOBILE, Ala. — The Pittsburgh Steelers fanbase reaches far and wide. It ends up being surprising just how many football players were Steelers fans growing up. For a player from Bowie, M.D., especially being surrounded by Ravens colors and noise, it may be weird to be a Steelers fan. However, Boston College offensive lineman Zion Johnson is just that person.
Johnson grew up a Steelers fan, and in fact, was a super fan of none other than former Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey retired after the 2020 season and may find his way going into Canton. Johnson, who worked for the first time at center in Mobile, was mostly a guard and tackle. Still, he watched so much Pouncey film and knows so much of the Steelers’ tradition upfront, he’d love to be a member of the black and gold.
“It would definitely be special,” Johnson said. “Growing up and watching a team, being of a fan of that line, and watching guys like Maurkice Pouncey, who was a great center and football mind, it would be great to play for that offensive line.”
Pouncey was always the one linemen that Johnson stuck by when watching film. Not only would he take his techniques, but his coaches would outright show him Pouncey’s film. It was that film that he saw that helped him develop as a player, even after he began to wane away into college football and away from NFL fandom.
“I would always watch Maurkice Pouncey,” Johnson said. “He was always a guy that we would watch him on film, they would bring a twist, and he would always know before anything is even happening. He’s grabbing the penetrator and pulling him across his face, and then getting the crasher. He felt like a psychic.”
Johnson sees a similar body type in himself and Pouncey. That is what made him watch a guy like him so closely. Johnson’s made a trip to Heinz Field playing against Pitt in 2019. After doing so, he was impressed by what he saw in the Steel City and Heinz Field.
“Pittsburgh is a great city,” Johnson said. “It was a great stadium. It felt crazy for me to just be in the stadium. All the games I’ve seen at Baltimore or somewhere near me. But all I’ve heard is it’s a great city, great culture, and there are great people.”
Johnson’s week at the Senior Bowl was one of the best all week. With his tape and performance, he may have catapulted himself into the first round. The Steelers sit at 20th overall, and it makes more than enough sense if the Steelers want offensive linemen for them to look Johnson’s way.