Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey sounds off on Le’Veon Bell
When it comes to the Steelers, the only thing more reliable than a Chris Boswell field goal is a Maurkice Pouncey quote when something goes wrong in the locker room.
Last year, the Steelers center sounded off about James Harrison forcing himself off the roster. Now, Pouncey is taking the lead when it comes to calling out Le’Veon Bell for his absence because of his contract dispute.
“Honestly, it’s a little selfish,” Pouncey said after practice Wednesday. “I’m kind of (ticked) right now. It (stinks) that he’s not here. We’ll move on as a team. It doesn’t look like he’ll be in the game plan at this point (for Sunday against Cleveland). (James) Conner looks great. We’ll worry about (Bell) in Week 2.”
Pouncey was then asked if he thought it was likely Bell will miss all 10 games between now and when he needed to report to qualify for an accrued year before free agency.
“At this point, go ahead and miss 10,” Pouncey said.
Pouncey wasn’t done, suggesting the Steelers running back, who is staying away from signing a $14.55 million franchise tag, was putting himself before the team.
“Obviously, it’s Le’Veon over the Steelers. We are the Steelers. At this point, it’s bigger than business. Now that it’s game time and you have $14 million looming out there and your team really wants you here, at this point we have Conner.”
As for Conner, Bell’s primary backup at running back, Pouncey said, “A star is born every year. Maybe the stars will align for him this year.”
Pouncey then went on to heap praise on Conner for his improvement and development in his second year. It is expected Conner will make his debut as a starter Sunday against the Browns.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter @TimBenzPGH.