In a world that is constantly changing around us, it is important to value continuity.
The Pittsburgh Steelers organization is one such a franchise that has always valued the idea of continuity, which is partly why they have always kept their veteran players a little longer than most teams generally do.
From the time Maurkice Pouncey stepped on the field in 2010, we all knew that he was destined to be great. Heck, even head coach Mike Tomlin knew it. In his 2015 'Top 100 Players' piece, it begins with Maurkice in his rookie season. Tomlin comes over to him yelling, "Maurkice", "Hey Maurkice, you're going to be a great player, but it's a team brother". It was a lesson that took a while for him to learn, but once he understood it, he became the embodiment of a team player.
When you think of it, the Steelers have built a strong culture in finding and cultivating Hall of Fame centers for decades. Pouncey belongs in the same hemisphere as the great Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson, as players who consistently and without complaint, put their bodies on the line, while playing being anchor that makes the offense work.
When you think of the best offensive years the Steelers had in the last decade, the centerpiece to them was Pouncey. He was someone that wanted to make an imprint on each play. He was someone that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and other could lean on, especially in games when they were not playing so well. Pouncey was, no doubt, someone that has always represented his teammates no matter the situation. If he had to play the enforcer role, he did it better than anyone, ask Myles Garrett.
Pouncey was not elegant in speech, but when he expressed himself, it was meaningful. If he never shied away from giving a harsh truth. When Bell first held out in 2017, he was one of the first to come his defense. A year later when Bell held out again, he felt betrayed and did not shy away from expressing it. In essence, Pouncey was someone who wore his heart on his sleeve and did so unapologetically.
After his playoff performance against the Cleveland Browns January, anyone with an objective eye would have seen that his retirement was inevitable. Even if we did, the reality of his departure is one that is difficult to deal with because how we were accustomed to having him back each year.
To say the least, Pouncey was one of a kind. The type of player that each NFL team should experience having at least once in their lifetime. If this team is so lucky to find another player like him, they should count their blessings.