On Monday July 23rd, CAVE writer Jansen Shrubb sat down with twin brothers and NFL centers, Maurkice and Mike Pouncey. In advance of the London Games, Maurkice (Pittsburgh) and Mike (Miami) have teamed up with Duracell to gather messages of support for the US Olympic Team. Jansen caught up with the brothers a day before their 23rd birthday to talk about the upcoming NFL season, sibling rivalries and of course, the Summer Olympic games.
1. Maurkice, your Steelers are in the middle of a youth movement along the offensive line. This year’s draft picks David DeCastro (24th) and Mike Adams (56th) join you and fellow ex-Gator Marcus Gilbert to round out a talented young group. What are your goals for this upcoming season both individually and as a unit?
Maurkice: I think the goal for the offensive linemen is definitely keep Ben protected this year, to keep the sacks to a low number. As far as me personally – with team success comes individual success and all that comes from being a part of a great football team. Hopefully everything plays out the best for us. I know the two offensive linemen picks were awesome for us and definitely needed. Hopefully they come in with the mentality that they’re ready to play football. I know they didn’t have the opportunity to do OTA’s with everybody else, but I think they’ve picked up everything really well.
2. Maurkice, the Steelers drafted a close friend and former High School and College teammate of yours this year when they took RB Chris Rainey in the 5th round. I read somewhere that you would never pick Chris for your basketball team because he shoots a little too much. What can we expect out of him this season?
Maurkice: Definitely on special teams he has to play a major part for us as a kick returner and punt returner. Offensively he’ll probably be like a Sproles for us, coming out of the backfield, doing different things and definitely playing some slot receiver for us.
3. Toughest player you’ve ever had to block?
Maurkice: I think for me with our divisional rivals it’s Haloti Ngata. He’s a guy that can go out there and pass rush and definitely stop the run at the same time. Ngata is big enough and strong enough to defeat any block if he wants to.
Mike: Well for me, I had the opportunity to go up against Albert Haynesworth this past year, and I feel like he’s one of the best D-linemen in the NFL. When he wants to go – he’s pretty much unblockable.
4. Do you find that sometimes he doesn’t want to go and takes plays off?
Well I think whatever team he goes on to join this year, he’s going to make that team better. He’s obviously been a great player in this league for a long time and has the respect of a lot of offensive linemen in our league.
5. So Mike, Tebowmania comes to the AFC East this year. What is your relationship like with Tim?
Mike: Oh man, we have a great relationship with Tebow. Obviously we spent a couple years with him and had some glory days at the University of Florida. He’s definitely a positive role model in today’s society and a great football player. He’s only going to make that Jets football team better.
6. Have either of you been caught ‘Tebowing’?
Mike: (Laughs) Nah, not yet. I haven’t tried it out just yet, but I’ve heard it’s worked for a lot of guys.
7. Mike we get to see you on this season on HBO’s Hardknocks. Talk a little bit about that experience so far and who you would pick to ‘steal the show’ so to speak? You can’t use Ocho Cinco…
Mike: Well I wasn’t going to use Ocho, but you know Ocho’s definitely going to be one of the crowd favourites. I think Hardknocks is great for the Dolphins. It’s going to give our team more exposure and let our fans get more involved. Richie Incognito would probably be a guy that has a good showing. He’s a guy that’s got a great personality. Obviously he’s hated by most NFL coaches, but he’s a great football player.
8. If all goes according to plan, you and rookie QB Ryan Tannehill will get to know each other very well in the coming decade. Have you had a chance to spend much time with him?
Mike: Definitely. He was a rookie that was able to be there for OTA’s and minicamp. He’s a guy that had this offense in college so he’s adjusted really well to it. Ryan’s actually an older rookie, he’s 24 years old, and as I said before he knows the offense so he does a lot of teaching to the veteran quarterbacks. He’s definitely been a bright spot in our draft class this year and we can’t wait to see what he can do when he puts on the pads.
9. Maurkice, growing up which one of you usually came out on top when going head-to-head? Any memorable sibling rivalry moments?
Maurkice: Well the right answer to say would be Mike won a lot of them….but most of the time it was probably me (laughter).
10. I have friends that are twins who seem to always take advantage of looking identical in practical jokes. Did either of you ever prank anyone by pretending to be your brother?
Mike: Actually we have. In high school we switched classes, but I don’t think it went as well as we planned. We were a little more nervous when we were actually doing it.
11. So Mike, you didn’t get (Maurkice) to write a test for you?
Mike: (chuckling) Nah, he probably would’ve failed it for me.
Continued on page 2.