A day after a new deal that will keep him with the Steelers for another three years was in place, Maurkice Pouncey was still a bit in shock that it happened the way it did, as fast as it did.
"I am going to be honest with you, it was so out of the blue," said Pouncey on Friday morning. "I know a lot of people aren't going to believe that, but honestly it was. It was so out of the blue. I didn't expect it at all. It's not like my agent reached out, or I reached out and asked for it. They wanted to do this from the start and it was amazing. It showed how much faith and belief the organization has in me.
"I appreciate them more than anyone could ever say or imagine. I really do. They are family to me. I love Mr. (Art) Rooney. I love the Rooney family. I love everything they preach and they bring. Our coaching staff, Coach (Mike) Tomlin, he has been there since day one and he has been more than a football coach to me. He has been a father and a friend and I appreciate everything he has done."
Pouncey first learned of the interest in the new contract on Wednesday night, but after a long day spending time in Lakeland seeing his brother's kids compete, he called it a night.
"My agent called me and said there was an offer. I didn't even know that," said Pouncey. "I was tired. I feel asleep and he was calling me that night. He called me in the morning and said this thing is really in play. I was like wow."
Take a look at some of the best photographs of Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey from the 2018 season
Pouncey, who went through his normal routine on Friday morning of working out before the crack of dawn, spoke from the heart like he always does about the deal that will keep him with the team he loves.
"I still don't know how to think. I don't know how to approach it," said Pouncey. "Everyone is calling me and saying what are you doing. It's like a normal day. I went to work out this morning. I don't know. I don't know how to take it. It's such a surprise to me.
"Words, I don't have words for it. I am so thankful, blessed and humbled by it.
"It means family. It's bigger than football. It means joy. It brings so much excitement. My whole entire family is a football family. The Steelers organization, that is exactly what it is. It's more than just a business to them. They have a different side. They have a different feel. They are there every day. They care about their players. I truly see that. I know it's a business when people look at the NFL, but the Steelers have a different way of handling business and you can appreciate that while you are playing for them and working for them. They are a family to me. That is the biggest word you can ever say."
And part of that family is his brothers on the offensive line. Before Pouncey even talked about his contract, before he spoke about the joy he was feeling about his own good fortune, he was focused on one thing and one thing only. Ramon Foster. Foster, who would have become a free agent on March 13, agreed to a two-year deal to remain with the team, to remain with the family.
"It means the world to me," said Pouncey of Foster staying. "That was my whole big thing in the offseason, through all the free agent stuff, was bringing Ramon back, how much he means to the team. How much he means to the offensive unit. Especially me.
"He is the one who brought me under his wing. He picked me up, took me everywhere I needed. We built this special relationship. I don't even know what we call it anymore, brothers, family. I really appreciate the Steelers doing that. Hopefully we can carry on this journey together."
The offensive line is one where continuity is a key, so keeping these two who know each other inside out is huge.
"No one can ever coach, no one can try to put together something," said Pouncey. "It happens naturally. It's a special group. We have a lot of great personalities, a tight brotherhood, and a tight bond. We are a tighter group than anyone can know. Hopefully we can keep going forward.
"It's huge. It shows the organization is making a point of showing the guys that are committed to the team, how hard the offensive line works together, how long we have been together, and how special the unit is. It shows how much the organization believes in us."
The one thing Pouncey, as well as Foster, want to do though is take things one further. They have accomplished a lot together, but not the thing that means the most to them, winning a Super Bowl.
"It's a blessing," said Pouncey. "I tell the guys as much as we have done, as much as the memories we have made together, only one thing matters, only one thing will be remembered as far as an offensive line group together and that will be winning a championship. We all have that same mindset and are working toward that. Hopefully one day we can bring that to fruition."