Maurkice Pouncey might not be the oldest player on the Steelers offense. He isn't even the oldest one on the Steelers offensive line. But the sixth year center understands what it means to be a veteran, what being a leader is all about.
Pouncey, who referred to the team's rookies as 'the kids' this week, took those same 'kids' out to dinner at the Capital Grille, along with Marcus Gilbert, a way to reach out and welcome them into the fold and make them understand what being a part of the Steelers' team is all about.
"I just think it's my time to start looking after the young guys, time to breed them," said Pouncey. "All the kids look good and listen well. They are a fun group. They like to laugh a lot. I like them."
It's the first time he has done it, and while he joked that they ate a lot of steak and the bill was high, it was a gesture that went a long way.
"It was a great time," said rookie center B.J. Finney. "For those guys to reach out to us and let us know they were here for us to help us out, if we had questions we could come to them. They welcomed us to Pittsburgh from a veteran standpoint.
"It means everything to have that leadership. If you don't have the leadership or the coaching of the older guys to help take you through the smaller things to help you improve your game and play on Sundays, without those guys you don't get that influence or hints that work. Right now it is everything."
It's just another example of how tight the offensive line is. They look out for each other, with Pouncey and Gilbert looking out for the rookies in this case.
They have always been close, with the core group of veterans as tight as any unit you will see. While they are many parts, they perform as one and there are times, you would think they are just one person.
"I feel like they are my twin brothers. I love them to death," said Pouncey of his fellow veteran offensive linemen. "We go out there and work really hard together. You can appreciate the amount of work we put in together. We work out together, we do everything together. We are a band of brothers when we are out there playing and we'll never let a guy down.
"We built such a great relationship. We are perfect for each other. We like to joke around but whenever it's time to go to work everybody puts their hand in there and goes after it."