Pouncey making a strong impression

Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey has impressed many with his play just eight games into his career, from his teammates to those who have to prepare to face him on Sundays.

"He really is something special," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "He is as good as it gets, I'll tell you that much."

Those who play alongside him on the line are impressed with his ability to make the calls on the line, showing leadership and knowledge that rookies don't always possess.

"You have to have the brains and football knowledge," said guard Trai Essex. "I think that is what he has shown. You know what he has physically. To be an effective center you have to have the mental aspect and that is the most impressive thing. No matter what defense is thrown at him he has been on his game and hasn't made too many mental errors at all this year. He has been able to roll with the mental aspect of the game. He has been great at it."

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has seen Pouncey on film and has been impressed. 

 "He's played a lot for them," said Belichick. "He's like any young player – a talented, young player - you see some things that are impressive," said Belichick. "He's athletic. He's strong. He plays with good technique. There are certainly things, experience wise, that I'm sure he's learning every week and every day. He's done a good job for them and I'm sure he will continue to get better because I know he is a hard worker, a tough kid. He's shown that he can compete at this level – no question about that – and I think he's getting better. He's like every rookie: there are things that I'm sure he'll be better at in time than he is right now, but he's certainly very competitive right now."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is on the team's injury report this week, listed with a shoulder and foot injury. He missed practice on Wednesday and participated in a limited basis on Thursday, but Steelers players expect him to be on the field Sunday night.

"He is going to play," said Chris Hoke. "He is going to be out there playing whether he just practices on Friday or doesn't practice at all and just shows up on Sunday. He has been in that offense for so long he can run it from the back of his hand. He is going to be out there." 

The Steelers annual Alumni Weekend will take place when the team hosts the Patriots on Sunday. The alumni will serve as honorary co-captains for the game and be introduced to the Heinz Field crowd during pregame.

In honor of Veteran's Day the Steelers will salute our nation's Veterans on Sunday during pregame ceremonies. Veterans representing every war will be on the field prior to the game for the National Anthem, joined by a Veteran's Color Guard.

After three games on the road, players are looking forward to being back at Heinz Field this week.

"I am excited to be home, not to travel," said Hoke. "That Saturday is always a long day before a game. You come in here in the morning, you have to travel and you are at the hotel. It will be nice to be able to spend Saturday at home.

"It will be nice to have the home crowd and have Steelers Nation cheering for us, even though on the road we have had some good crowds."

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