AC In The AM: Dolphins Smart To Pounce On Pouncey
Posted Apr 14, 2015
One of the keys to success in this league is keeping the quality players you already have and with Pouncey you’ve got a center with an All-Pro resume and an upside that is truthfully off the charts.
There is no minimizing the importance of Mike Pouncey to the Miami Dolphins. He is clearly one of the centerpieces – no pun intended – of the roster, a leader in the prime of his career and the type of player you always want to build around.
That’s why it was so crucial to lock up Pouncey long-term. We can talk for hours about the influx of talent needed on this roster. But one of the keys to success in this league is keeping the quality players you already have and with Pouncey you’ve got a center with an All-Pro resume and an upside that is truthfully off the charts.
“A great day,” said General Manager Dennis Hickey on Monday, before introducing Pouncey.
How important was this day to Pouncey? He had trouble putting it into words. He stood at the podium Monday with his family seated around him and fought back tears. After a few deep breaths, the tears won out. The fact that he was so emotional, that he was so appreciative of how this franchise stood by him through, what he called “slip-ups, here and there” says so much about the inner fabric of this man.
For Mike Pouncey, it’s all about heart. Lives his life that way; plays the game that way.
“I always had faith I’d be a Miami Dolphin for life,” Pouncey said. “I’m truly blessed to be here.”
This franchise has been equally blessed with some great centers over the years, most notably Hall of Famers Jim Langer and Dwight Stephenson. Pouncey has a chance to reside in that same conversation. Granted, he still has a ways to go. But from what we’ve seen in his first four seasons, the ability and the commitment is certainly there.
And now, after Monday’s announcement, Pouncey is safely in the fold for another six seasons, his new contract reportedly making him the highest paid center in the league. This is huge for a team still trying to rebuild its offensive line after the problems of a few seasons ago.
You have a center like Pouncey, you have a left tackle like Branden Albert and you have a right tackle like Ja’Wuan James and it makes it much more palatable to fill in the rest of the pieces. But it’s got to start at center. He is the leader, the play-caller and, in so many ways, the adhesive that holds the rest of the line together.
“Our team has a bright future,” Pouncey said. “I’m happy to be a piece of the puzzle.”
Pouncey has been one of my favorite players since being drafted out of the University of Florida. He is a stand-up guy with a warm, infectious smile and a way of putting everything around him in its proper perspective. But on Sunday afternoons he is different. A switch goes on, the intensity finds another gear and Pouncey gives this offense a physical presence that is almost mandatory in today’s NFL.
The Dolphins have a lot on their plate these days. Free agency is in full swing and the draft begins two weeks from Thursday. But it says plenty about the forward thinking of this franchise that, even with everything else going on, they found the time and the resources to get this deal done. The last thing you’d ever want is for a player of Pouncey’s enormous skill set to find his way to the open market. The Dolphins on Monday made sure that won’t happen.
Pouncey, you may recall, played most of the 2014 season at guard, the equivalent of taking one for the team. The Dolphins were thin at guard and had veteran Samson Satele to play center. While guard is neither his best position nor his favorite position, Pouncey impressed so many people within the organization with the manner in which he accepted that challenge. This is a real pro in every sense of the word and don’t think that didn’t have a lot to do with the team’s desire to extend his contract.
But now Pouncey will return to center and the Dolphins will benefit from having one of the premier players at that position. His 25 years old and has already played in two Pro Bowls. But the best part of Pouncey isn’t what he has already done as much as what he can conceivably accomplish before his career is over. The possibilities are both intriguing and enticing.
“This day means a lot to me, and a lot to my family,” Pouncey said.
Indeed, it means a lot to the Miami Dolphins as well.