Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey has retired from the NFL after 11 seasons along side his twin brother, Los Angeles Chargers center Mike Pouncey, the brothers announced through Maurkice Pouncey’s former Steelers teammate Ramon Foster on Friday.
“I’ll always love the game of football & always will be the ultimate competitor in life,” Pouncey wrote in a statement shared by Foster. “I’m jus not in love with the sacrifice football carries on my life, my beautiful daughters Jayda, Marley & my family.”
It’s my honor that my brothers from another asked me to announce the next stage in their life. After over a decade @MaurkicePouncey and Mike Pouncey are RETIRING from the @nfl 🤝. Below are their memos to thank those involved in their careers. #Steeler #chargers #Miami #NFL pic.twitter.com/v9IALOrZaX
— Ramon Foster (@RamonFoster) February 12, 2021
Maurkice Pouncey, 31, just finished his 11th season in the NFL, all of which have been with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the team selected him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Florida. He started all 134 games he played for the Steelers over his career, as he was a day-one starter at center as a rookie in the 2010 season, after which Pouncey appeared in Super Bowl XLV.
Pouncey made the Pro Bowl for the ninth time in 2020 and has also been a five-time Associated Press All-Pro, with first-team honors in 2011, 2012 and 2014. He was also a member of the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team, largely giving him Hall of Fame credentials.
The Steelers have had historically low turnover at the center position, with Pouncey following in the footsteps of Jeff Hartings, Dermontti Dawson, Mike Webster and Ray Mansfield as longtime starters dating back to 1963. Dawson and Webster are Hall of Famers.
Pouncey is a Lakeland, Florida native and won a BCS National Championship with the Gators in 2009. Individually, he won the Rimington Trophy and was a consensus first-team All-American.
“As I write this farewell speech I cry & I laugh that twin boys from Lakeland FL that grew up in poverty made it this far in life both living out NFL dreams,” Pouncey wrote. “I can honestly say faith & the work ethic our parents Lisa & Robert Webster instilled in their kids (Mike, Maurkice, Talisha & Tierra.) We love you mom & dad!”
Pouncey’s retirement will leave a significant hole on the Steelers’ offensive line for 2021. The only other center on the team’s roster is former undrafted free agent J.C. Hassenauer, who made his first start in place of Pouncey this past season. His departure will save the team approximately $8 million in salary cap space for 2021, but leaves a dead salary cap hit of $6.475 million.
Devin Bush Shares Update on ACL Recovery
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush joined the Steelers Nation Unite Huddle with fans on Thursday and provided an update on his recovery from the knee injury that prematurely ended his 2020 season.
“Rehab is going good. I am on schedule,” said Bush. “I am feeling stronger week by week. I am trying to get ready physically for next year, especially for camp. I am just staying positive about things and doing everything I can possible to make myself one of the best players next year.”
While spending the better half of last season injured proved a challenge for Bush, those emotions have only added to his motivation throughout the recovery process.
“Missing the time with your teammates, coaches and everybody in the building,” said Bush. “It’s hard to be alone and watch football every Sunday, not able to participate. A lot of that motivation comes from that. As a competitor, motivation of coming back and being better is another motivator. Just sitting there and being able to take everything in and put that energy somewhere else. You have to put that inside your rehab and things you want to get accomplished next year.”
The time away also provided Bush a new perspective of the game.
“Wherever I was at the time, it allowed me to watch the game as a fan,” said Bush. “It allowed me to see the whole picture rather than be on the defensive side of the ball.”
Bush suffered the knee injury in the Steelers’ Week 6 win over the Cleveland Browns. Prior to the injury, Bush had 26 total tackles, a sack and three passes defended.
Selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Michigan, Bush was named to the league’s All-Rookie team. He has tallied 135 combined tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, two interceptions, two sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Should the Steelers Keep Mike Hilton or Cam Sutton?
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a number of important players that are set to become free agents this offseason. The cap-strapped team will not be able to bring every player they like back, and that means making some tough decisions of who to prioritize.
Both Mike Hilton and Cam Sutton have become key contributors to the Pittsburgh secondary as slot cornerbacks. They both are arguably underrated in their own way.
If the Steelers can only keep one, and that’s likely the case, which cornerback should the Steelers retain between Hilton or Sutton?
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Projects Alabama C Landon Dickerson to Steelers in Latest Mock Draft
ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. predicted that the Pittsburgh Steelers will select Alabama center Landon Dickerson in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in his latest mock draft.
Kiper, who released his second mock draft of the season on Thursday, has the Steelers staying with the No. 24 overall pick in the first round to take Dickerson in a mock draft that has three trades in the first round.
The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Alabama grad could play center or guard, but would be immediately be slotted in as a replacement for retired starter Maurkice Pouncey at center.
Dickerson spent his first three seasons at Florida State before transferring to Alabama in 2019. He started four games at right guard and nine games at center in 2019 and started at center in 2020, where he was the winner of the Rimington Trophy as the country’s best center.
Dickerson suffered an ACL injury in the SEC Championship Game in December and concerns regarding that injury have depressed Dickerson’s draft value, but he is generally considered to be the best center in the class and no worse than a second-round pick.