LATROKE, Pa. - Center Maurkice Pouncey was among the first to check-in at Steelers training camp on Friday and after missing last season with a knee injury, you can understand why.
"It's awesome," said Pouncey of being at camp. "It's like my rookie year all over again. I woke up this morning with more jitters than ever. It's awesome to be here.
"I missed the whole year. I am excited to be back out here…after so much success at the beginning and it's all taken away from you. It's like your first day back on the football field. To get back out here with the guys is a great feeling for me."
Pouncey said he has no concerns about hitting the field, including this coming Monday when the team will put on the pads for the first time, and doesn't expect any limitations.
"I am a confident player," said Pouncey. "I am pretty sure I am set to go.
"I am ready to go every single day. I think the doctors did a great job and I am fully ready to go."
Working during the team's OTAs and minicamp this spring gave Pouncey the jump he needed, putting him in perfect position for camp.
"I think it got my knee a lot stronger going against guys and feeling the different angles you are going to have to block at," said Pouncey.
Pouncey, who signed a contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2019 season, said the new deal hasn't put any additional pressure on him.
"I have to go out there and do what I always did," said Pouncey. "Whenever you get paid like that you have to go out there and perform like one of the best. That is the plan right now.
"All of the guys have the same goal in mind. We are hungry after going 8-8 and not making the playoffs. I think everybody's mindset is right."