Pouncey thinks he has a chance

A Media Day notebook with Maurkice Pouncey, Roger Goodell, Hines Ward, James Farrior, Bruce Arians and more:

DALLAS – The news has been dire on Maurkice Pouncey's chances to play in the Super Bowl ever since he was helped off the field in the AFC Championship Game.

But the Steelers' center finally got a chance to answer questions about the injured left ankle on Media Day, and he's still hopeful of playing.

"We're going to wait until game day," Pouncey said of his playing status.

He refuted reports that cite unnamed sources in ruling him out of the Super Bowl because of a high sprain and broken bone.

"I don't know where that came from," Pouncey said. "Me and the doc are the only two that know right now. I feel good. I'm walking around good today. I took the cast off and I've got this boot on, and it's going pretty good. There is no break. I don't know where that came from either. It's just a high-ankle sprain."

Pouncey said the decision will be "on me" and "if I don't feel the right way going out there, I'm not going to play."

He said his biggest problem is the obvious: "You've got to get used to pushing around 350-pounders. When I'm walking around and it's just my weight it's pretty easy."

Pouncey said that if he can't play, "I'll be on the bench waving a Terrible Towel."


In his popular Monday column, Sports Illustrated's Peter King quoted commissioner Roger Goodell saying he had talked to "two dozen" players about Ben Roethlisberger and that "not a single [Steelers] player went to his defense. It wasn't personal in a sense, but all kinds of stories like, ‘He won't sign my jersey.'"

Late Monday night, King clarified that he inserted the word "Steelers" into the quote, but that Goodell called to say he had not meant "Steelers" players.

So, we are to believe that: A.) Goodell interviewed players on other teams to help him decide Roethlisberger's suspension, and B.) Players ask opponents for autographs.

Neither makes sense, and Goodell clearly violated the confidentiality of his "investigation." However, in blabbing to the biggest microphone in NFL journalism, Goodell could actually serve to further unify the Steelers.

"You're trying to get me fired up, aren't you?" Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Tuesday when the subject came up.

"I still haven't seen the exact quote, but if you polled all of those guys out there right now, I think they'd all tell you it was bull crap.

"Those guys would go through a wall for him, and they will Sunday. That outside stuff just makes this group stronger. It's a galvanized group, man. They have taken it personal and it's been fun being a part of it."


Hines Ward was surprised by the question last week, and his answer of "I hadn't really thought about it" evoked even more questions this week.

But at Media Day, Ward had a definite answer.

"I'm not retiring," he said. "I'm not in the mood to retire. That was the No. 1 question that was asked. It's almost like they're pushing me out. Until coach [Mike] Tomlin says he does not need my services anymore, I am going to continue playing."

The oldest player on the team is James Farrior, who turned 36 last month. He also was asked about retirement.

"I think about it in the offseason," Farrior said. "When I'm playing football, it never crosses my mind. When you're playing football and you're thinking about that, it's time to retire. I still have the love for the game. I still have the same passion I had when I was a rookie. I plan on them having to kick me out of here for me to get off the field."

And, of course, 73-year-old defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was asked about his plans.

"I'm going to coach in Pittsburgh as long as they'll have me," LeBeau said. "If they tell me they don't want me, I might stay in football. I think I've got the job."


Brett Keisel's beard continues to cast a spell on the media, and even nose tackle Casey Hampton said that Keisel's beard is more popular than Troy Polamalu's hair.

"Troy's hair is just Troy's hair," said Hampton. "But the beard is a new thing. He definitely gets more attention."

"Actually, he's put a lot of Head & Shoulders on his beard," said Polamalu.

Keisel began growing the beard in June after watching the Penguins grow their "playoff beards."

"I really think he is a much more handsome man without it," said LeBeau. "But I kind of like the record we've got with it on there."

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