The center position for the Pittsburgh Steelers is one that has been built on consistency.
There is a legacy, handed down from players through the decades, players like Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson, the best of the best who are immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Maurkice Pouncey's name is right up there with the best of them, and he will forever be remembered with the top centers ever to wear the black and gold.
Pouncey, along with his twin brother Mike Pouncey, announced via statements that former teammate Ramon Foster released on his Twitter account that they are retiring. Pouncey called it quits after an illustrious 11-year career with the Steelers, one filled with honors and accolades while he, like Webster and Dawson before him, led the way for the offensive line.
Pouncey also posted the following on his Instagram account:
"I'll always love the game of football & always will be the ultimate competitor in life, NFL, Steelers! I'm just not in love with the sacrifice football carries on my life, my beautiful daughters Jayda, Marley & my family! My family & I are forever indebted to the Rooney family, the Tomlin family, the Colbert family, the Khan family, the Tull family, the Munchak family, the Paul family, the Giemont family, the Norwig family, the Andino family & every amazing employee (family member) that works with the Steelers organization I'm forever grateful for y'all accepting me & treating me with more than first class treatment!! For all the doctors & medical staff that has worked on me thank you for all the successful surgeries. Couldn't have done it without you all!
"To my big brother Mike Pouncey thank you for always pushing me to be the best. The sacrifices we made will forever go unnoticed but Together (13x Pro Bowls, 2x first team All Pro's, 3x second team All Pro's) who would've ever thought that as kids!! For all of my teammates over the last 11 yrs in the NFL & to the PORCH TALKERS (Bruhda's) Ramon Foster, Al Villanueva, David DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert, Chris Hubbard, Kelvin Beachum & Matt Feiler love every last one of you!! Thank you for all the amazing moments that we all created together!! To all my amazing coaches who believed in me & helped create my craft thank you for the bottom of my heart!! Football is the ultimate team sport where gladiators come to compete at the highest level of competition!! Big Ben my Brother for life we ride together we die together bad boys for life! 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. 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! For the next generation dreams do come true but it takes a lot of sacrifice, dedication, education, & hard work! Save your money & always remain humble! Chat & Razan thank y'all so much for raising Queens. Couldn't have done it without y'all!"
Pouncey made and impact on and off the field, and Steelers President Art Rooney II issued the following statement:
"I want to thank Maurkice for his outstanding efforts both on and off the field over the past 11 years. He was an amazing teammate and leader that so many looked up to throughout his playing career.
"Congratulations on your retirement, Maurkice. I wish you and your family much success."
Coach Mike Tomlin, who spent 11 seasons as Pouncey's head coach, also shared his congratulations and respect for Pouncey in a statement he released:
Pouncey was selected by the Steelers in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the 18th overall pick. Shortly after Pouncey arrived at Saint Vincent College for his rookie training camp, he earned the starting job, and he held it from that day until he decided to end his NFL career.
In his rookie season he would stabilize a position previously held by journeymen Sean Mahan and Justin Hartwig for a team that went on to reach Super Bowl XLV. Pouncey was unable to play in the Super Bowl after injuring an ankle in the AFC Championship Game victory over the New York Jets. He won the Joe Greene Great Performance Award that season, given annually to the team's Rookie of the Year by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America, to become the first offensive lineman to win it since 2000.
Pouncey didn't need much time to establish himself as a starter in the NFL, and he quickly built on his growing resume. He became the first center in NFL history to be selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons (2010-12) and went on to be a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, including in 2020. He was twice voted first-team Associated Press All-Pro (2011, 2014) and was a second-team AP All-Pro selection three times (2010, 2012 and 2018).
This past April, Pouncey was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-Decade team for the 2010s, an honor Webster earned in the 1970s and 1980s, with a spot on an All-Decade team typically leading to being enshrined in Canton.
Pouncey was a steady leader on offense, someone who guided the younger players while still showing a shining example for even the most seasoned veterans. It was that leadership that had his teammates vote him an offensive team captain four times (2013, 2018, 2019 and 2020).
Pouncey's love for the game is only matched by his love for giving back to the community, and was the Steelers nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2019. He and his twin brother, Mike, started the Team Pouncey Foundation, which gives back to those in Pittsburgh and his hometown of Lakeland, Florida, by hosting free football and cheerleading camps for kids to give them a stepping-stone to the future.
In Pittsburgh, Pouncey's passions were making sure people didn't suffer from food insecurity, and providing opportunities to young people giving to connect law enforcement to foster strong relationships between the groups. His three main areas of focus were the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Urban Impact Foundation and working with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.
Take a look at some of the greatest photographs from the career of Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey
For three seasons, interrupted only in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pouncey has donated tickets to Steelers home games to the Pittsburgh Police for them to take youth in city neighborhoods to games, as well as enjoy a pregame tailgate party inside Stage AE. The tickets were distributed to different police zones each week, allowing a wide range of kids the opportunity to not only see a game, but also to spend quality time interacting with the police and getting to know the men and women who are there to protect them.
This year, before state guidelines prevented indoor gatherings, the officers would host the kids at an area venue where they could safely follow all COVID-19 protocols. Pouncey took care of all of the expenses, which included feeding the kids, while making sure the police were able to interact with them to build relationships.
"He is just a good person," said Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert. "I like that he always says he is blessed. Even through the dark days.
"There is that personal connection with him. He gets it. He gets the importance of the connection between the community and local law enforcement. That is what he strives to do, to help build that bridge, especially with the youth we deal with on a day-to-day basis. The Pittsburgh Police are committed to community engagement. We do a lot with our youth. Maurkice helps take it to another level on a connection that might resonate more with younger kids who love football and the Steelers. It's not a partnership, it's a friendship. He is always asking what we need."