LATROBE, Pa. – Maurkice Pouncey is quick with a smile, loves to laugh and never minds sharing words of encouragement with his teammates, especially during the dog days of training camp when it's needed most.
At the same time he is willing to push his teammates, give them the strong words of advice they need to improve, and do everything he can to get the best out of them.
"He is the rock of our line, our offense," said tackle Marcus Gilbert. "The way he commands the huddle and what he demands out of the line is unbelievable. He isn't just a great leader in the huddle, he leads by example. We try to feed off his intensity."
It's all part of Pouncey's demeanor, his personality, a personality that has made him a leader on and off the field not just for the offensive line, but for others on the team.
"I think it just comes naturally," said Pouncey. "It's not something where people have said this is your title, you are a leader. It's just something that is in me. It comes out when I am around people and the excitement I have for football."
It also stems from the excitement he has for helping others. There isn't a time you will get a bigger smile from him than when you ask him about what he does in his hometown of Lakeland, Florida, along with his twin brother Mike, to help the community.
The Pouncey brothers hosted the Annual Pouncey Football Camp, a weekend filled with free events the two held for kids in an effort to give back to the city they love.
"When we grew up in Lakeland, nobody ever really did that," said Pouncey. "We never got to see that. The biggest thing for us was going to the Tampa Bay Bucs Fan Fest and getting autographs from them. My brother and I always made that commitment if we were ever able to make it big and be able to have the opportunity to give back, that was our main focus. The city of Lakeland loves us and we love them to death and appreciate it."
Pouncey said that record crowds turned out for this year's event, and he wants it to keep on growing.
"It's a blessing to see their smiles," said Pouncey. "They talk about it to their teachers. They are excited to see us come back and spend time with them.
"It's amazing to see the amount of people that have helped out and how much it has grown. We have more and more kids that have come each year. The Lakeland Police Department got involved with us this year, the Sherriff's Office helped out, and we had so much help from the people in the community. It shows the respect they have for us and the things we are doing to help out in the community."
Pouncey said he shares the message of being involved in the community with the team's younger players, and encourages them to do whatever they can to give back.
"You have to," said Pouncey. "You are in a situation where you are obligated to do things like this. To see the smiles on kid's faces, to bring people's spirits up, to change the life of just one person, it's all worth it and that is our biggest concern."