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Watch: Ex-Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey Talk Retirement



Former Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey

As they sat and watched the Steelers’ Monday Night Football game against Indianapolis on the Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger podcast, the former Pittsburgh quarterback and center Maurkice Pouncey talked about the latter’s retirement.

The conversation began when Pouncey told Roethlisberger that being a fan of the Steelers is different now that No. 7 isn’t out there throwing passes anymore.

“It’s hard watching this team without you out there, I’m not gonna lie,” Pouncey said, adding that he couldn’t watch the team’s first game this season for that reason.

The two-time first-team All-Pro offensive lineman’s retirement was brought up shortly thereafter. Roethlisberger took snaps from Pouncey for a decade and was admittedly upset that Pouncey didn’t join him for the 2021 campaign.

“I had to get over my selfishness of being angry that you weren’t out there,” Roethlisberger said. “Because you’re my guy, and it was like riding a bike when you and I played together. It was just easy and it made sense.”

Pouncey couldn’t bring himself to let Roethlisberger know he was hanging his cleats up. He put off calling his quarterback until there was nobody else to tell. The tandem had an emotional talk on a sideline bench after a playoff loss to Cleveland in 2020. Roethlisberger left the stadium thinking Pouncey would be back the following go-round.

“When we were sitting on that bench and we were bawling our eyes out, I was like, ‘Nope, we’re gonna have one more chance.’ I remember telling him, like, ‘Pounce, listen, you are too good to go out without any fans cheering you out. You need to go out with fans and come back for one more year.’ And I was being selfish. 100%. But I feel like, when you have someone like this, you’re allowed to be selfish.”

Pouncey said that he’d had thoughts of calling it quits before that memorable scene.

“It wasn’t, like, a real lie,” Pouncey said, laughing. “It was like, ‘I’ll tell you tomorrow.’ It’s like when your kids keeps asking, ‘Let’s go to Target.’ It’s like, ‘We’re gonna go, we’re about to go.’ Then you wait until tomorrow.”

In the end, wanting to be there for his daughters trumped football.

“My kids looked up to me,” Pouncey said. “I still be playing, like, ‘They would’ve carried me off the field.’ It was just that part that I was missing some of the things that was just eating me up inside.”

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