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Pouncey keeps adding to his rookie season accolades

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By Scott Brown
Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010
 

Perhaps the first of the many challenges Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler has issued to prized rookie Maurkice Pouncey came last May.

The newly drafted players were at an alumni dinner during minicamp, and Kugler told Pouncey that he expected him to win the award that is given annually to the Steelers' top rookie.

Pouncey obliged the coach he credits for his rapid development as he was presented with the Joe Greene Award after practice Wednesday.

Pouncey, the 18th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, has started all 15 games at center and was a unanimous pick for the award that is named after arguably the greatest player in Steelers history.

The 6-foot-4, 304-pounder has stood out in what has been a strong rookie class — both for the Steelers and the NFL — and Tuesday, he made the Pro Bowl.

"It's going great," said Pouncey of the week he has been having. "It really is a proud moment for me right now, but I'd give it all away for the Super Bowl."

The Steelers initially planned to play Pouncey at guard before moving him to center.

But they made the switch during training camp, and Pouncey has since done nothing to discourage the notion that he is the next in a long line of great Steelers centers.

Included in the group of standouts that the Steelers have had are Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson.

Dawson is a semifinalist for the 2011 Class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"I'm nowhere near where those guys are," Pouncey said. "I'm just trying to keep up with their level. I text with Dermontti back and forth, and he gives me little things to think about."

digits

36 : Rushing yards Peyton Hillis needs to become the sixth player in Browns history to run for at least 1,200 yards in a season

96.2 : Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's career passer rating against the Browns

quotable

"The night before the game, I had him speak a little bit, and he said that the guys could count on him and he was going to play well, and it wasn't bravado, it wasn't him trying to convince us of that, it was sincere. Each week we've been able to give him more and build on his experience, build on the game plans he's executed, and there's been real progress."

Browns coach Eric Mangini, on rookie quarterback Colt McCoy making his NFL debut against the Steelers on Oct. 17.

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