Steelers notebook: Pouncey returns to field, calls experience 'awesome'
Maurkice Pouncey was on the field for the first time since tearing his ACL in the season opener last season and deemed himself “ready to go.”
The Steelers kicked off the first of 10 organized team activities Tuesday with the leader of their offensive line in the huddle.
“It was pretty neat,” Pouncey said. “I was able to go out there and drive block guys and finish off some plays. It was awesome.”
Pouncey was hurt on the 12th play of the season when fellow lineman David DeCastro miscalculated a cut block and took out Pouncey's knee. Pouncey spent the entire offseason at the Steelers' facility rehabbing the injury and said he started to feel normal two months ago.
“It feels great. No problems at all,” Pouncey said. “It was more mental than anything else getting your confidence back. The physical part was all with the doctors, and they did a great job.”
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he's happy to have his security blanket back.
“It's comfortable,” Roethlisberger said. “He's a comfort blanket, and he's a leader of this team and a leader of the offensive line, and it's just good to see him out there because he's a football player and he loves the game. It was great to see as a friend. He's a guy that worked so hard to get back out here, and it's fun to see him back in the pads.”
Shazier works with first unit
Rookie first-round pick Ryan Shazier lined up at mack inside linebacker next to Lawrence Timmons with the first team even though the Steelers usually are reluctant to do so with first-year players. Shazier said he's not taking anything for granted.
“You have to work for everything you have,” Shazier said. “I am just going to go out there, just like everyone else, go day-to-day and try to earn my job, and try to make sure I can do everything I can to help this team. I just have to keep showing the coaches that I know what I am doing to help this defense, and go out there and play.”
Enough carries to go around
One would think that bringing in a pair of running backs with free agent LeGarrette Blount and third-round pick Dri Archer would make last year's first-round pick Le'Veon Bell a little nervous.
“I am not a selfish guy,” Bell said. “I am far from thinking about just myself. It is going to give me time to recuperate and be fresh out there.
Bell played 691 snaps despite missing the first three games last season.
The Steelers signed two more of their draft picks in fifth-rounder Wesley Johnson (Vanderbilt) and sixth-rounder Jordan Zumwalt. Both signed four-year deals, with Johnson's worth approximately $2.4 million and Zumwalt's $2.3 million. ... Safety Troy Polamalu and cornerback Ike Taylor, along with Zumwalt, were the only players not attending Tuesday's first voluntary OTA. Zumwalt is not permitted because UCLA has yet to end its semester. ... The Steelers will conduct OTAs on Wednesday and Thursday before resuming next week.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
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