Steelers OC Maurkice Pouncey Works With 1st Team

Pittsburgh Steelers first-round center Maurkice Pouncey took all of the first-team reps during practice on Wednesday, and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that the Pouncey Era appears set to begin.

"It put a big smile on me," Pouncey said. "I ain't going to lie, but I just need to go out there and practice every day. I want to stay humble. I'm happy about it. I just want to stay humble and keep working at it."

Pouncey, who turned 21 a week before signing a five-year, $14.4 million contract, has earned the praise of head coach Mike Tomlin, and Ben Roethlisberger has acknowledged the need for him to get used taking snaps from Pouncey this summer. Perhaps the most important accolades the former Florida Gator has received have come from Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton.

"A lot of centers you play against are either quick and weak or they're strong and not quick. He's got both," Hampton said. "He's quick and he's really strong. He recovers real well. He does a good job staying on his feet. I think he's going to be a good player.

"With a center, man, you can't teach that," Hampton said of Pouncey's ability to recover. "If you got that, it helps a whole lot. That's the downfall of a lot of centers, getting beat quick, because guys are so close on you. But he's so athletic, he recovers and stays on his feet. That's the other thing about him, he's hardly ever on the ground."

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