Maurkice Pouncey Getting Close

Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey is entering his fifth season in the NFL, the first three of which landed him in the Pro Bowl and the first- or second-team All-Pro list. His fourth season ended almost as soon as it began.

Pouncey as of right now is approximately eight months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee that he suffered in the Steelers’ opening game. Just eight snaps into the contest, right guard David DeCastro misjudged a cut block and dove into the back of Pouncey’s knee.

He’s getting close to full capacity, and seems as though he could be ready to return to the starting lineup without missing a beat. Offensive line coach Mike Munchak even joked that his biggest concern with Pouncey going forward is making sure that he relaxes and takes his time:

“He’s doing well. When you’re a player as competitive as he is and you get hurt in the opener, you can’t wait to play your first game, so the hardest part for him is probably relaxing, and realizing that we don’t play until September”.

With workouts having resumed, Pouncey is out there working with his teammates. He told the Steelers’ website in late April that he would be there for OTAs, focusing on individual drills, with maybe some live reps. In fact, he surprised himself with how far he’d come:

“When this first happened, I thought I was going to be out for the longest time. I was never expecting to be walking like this now, to be able to do all the things I could do in the weight room. I never thought it. I wish I could say I was fully back, but I’m pretty close”.

That was close to a month ago.

Ben Roethlisberger was recently asked about how far Pouncey had come from his injury, saying that “it’s great to see him back out there. I think he is doing a great job. He is working hard. That is your security blanket”.

Pouncey still has more than two months to go before he gets a chance to play in a game, albeit in the preseason. But considering how long it’s been since he’s been able to take a snap, he may be looking for all the reps he can get.

Knee injuries are never certain, but Pouncey seems to be on track to make a full recovery. The Steelers struggled without him last season, and were forced to alter their approach in terms of blocking schemes along the offensive line.

Because of his athleticism and mobility, the Steelers were able to do things with him that, as shown last year, they couldn’t do effectively with players such as Fernando Velasco and Cody Wallace.

While Max Starks recently made a full recovery from a December ACL tear to play every snap in the next season, his position requires less mobility, and thus less strain on the knee.

All signs have been pointing in the positive direction, however, and the Steelers are looking forward to taking the next step toward achieving the offensive line they envisioned putting together with all of these high draft picks after so many steps back.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • srdan

    This is great news. And let’s not forget that this is his contract year. That tends to push players pretty hard!

  • Jacque Strappe

    I think Munchak will be good for all of them, but maybe Pouncey the most. Hope he has an all-pro season. If he does, it likely means this team is a playoff team.

  • Paddy

    and he will leave for the bigger bucks

  • Derick L Young

    I really hope the Steelers extend him after June 1st

  • Jacque Strappe

    Perhaps. Depends on several issues IMO. Worilds contract status for instance. Pouncey’s performance, next year’s cap increase, etc.

  • PA2AK

    I would love for some of these younger players to consider signing modest contracts in hopes of long term employment/better potential for multiple championships. I know…pipe dream…it’s the NFL we’re talking about.

  • Zach

    Yep, me too. Ideally and cap-permitting, we should extend Heyward, Pouncey, Worilds (i.e. sign long term), Cortez, and Gilbert, probably in this order. HEyward is set to have an even more impactful year, and I’d think in this offseason we could sign him front-loaded for 5-6 Mil/yr.

  • NW86

    I think it would take a little more than that to lock up Heyward, even now. Keep in mind also that since they picked up his option year he is under contract for 2 more years. I still think they should get him locked up if they can, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen this year.

    IMO, Cortez is the biggest priority since he is entering his final season and there is basically nothing behind him at CB for 2015.

  • Zach

    It may be that 6 Mil/yr is not enough, but the earlier we sign Heyward, the cheaper it will be (barring injury). You’re right that we still have one more offseason to do the job. I would give an offer to Cortez for 2.5-3.5 Mil/yr, r yr, and hopefully he would bite. So far he has not shown anything that would qualify him as a #1 CB, but he has leverage on us given how thin we are at CB.

  • kakello34

    I have a real good feeling this is the year the line stays healthy and begins to jell together into something formidable

  • srdan

    Name another first round pro bowler the steelers let leave….

    I wouldn’t be upset if pouncey was the first to leave, but I don’t see it happening.

  • srdan

    No way. I hope they get all the max they can get. I share yoru sentiment from the team’s view, but it’s a job. When you say long term employment-there is no such thing in the NFL. Even long careers are 10 years. He already played 5 at 3mm per. I hope he gets what he is worth. What does an nfl player do when he leaves the league? They don’t develop other skills while in the NFL. Most of them go back to coach at highschools. Gotta earn what they can, while they can.

  • Zach

    Pouncey is the only one, you’re right. But do you see the steelers giving him 8-9 mil/yr? Unless he has a year crippled with injuries, that’s the range he will demand. Looking at his ranking from e.g. b/r or other sources, he’s constantly been in the 14-16 range, so he’s got more reputation than production. We could see that last year, when Velasco and later Cody Wallace anchored the line really well for much less money.

  • PA2AK

    I hear ya…hope to make $3mil in my life, lol. Not begrudging them, but it was getting at is making a reasonable contract that keeps a team in position to be more successful…giving them a career that might yield some championships while settling for something of a hard knock life at $6mil per. Maybe they make even more off their fame/endorsements…