(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Former Steelers' guard Ramon Foster, who writes for DKPittsburghSports, stated in his article on Tuesday that Maurkice Pouncey told him he’s “50-50” on whether he’ll return next season or retire.
Ben Roethlisberger and Pouncey are longtime teammates and close friends, and the NBC cameras captured them having a heart-to-heart talk on the bench after Sunday night's, 48-37, loss to the Cleveland Browns in the wild-card game.
NFL Films caught the audio of the emotional raw moment between Roethlisberger and Pouncey.
"I'm sorry, brother," Roethlisberger said to Pouncey after Sunday night's loss to Cleveland. "You're the only reason I wanted to do this. Oh, I feel worse for you than me. I hate it, man."
Roethlisberger was asked by the media after the game about his conversation with Pouncey on the bench when everyone else left the field.
"I love that guy," Roethlisberger said of Pouncey. "He is one of the best competitors and teammates I've ever had. It's been so much fun to share a football field with him. I hate that it ended the way it did. I just wanted to apologize to him that I wanted to win it for him."
Roethlisberger was also asked after the game about the future for him and Pouncey. Roethlisberger and Pouncey have said for years that they would hang it up at the same time whenever one retires.
"This loss is fresh," Roethlisberger replied. "It's just sitting on our hearts and our minds right now. It will for a while."
Roethlisberger turns 39 in March and has one year left on his contract, which comes at a hefty $41,250,000 cap hit. If Roethlisberger retires or the Steelers cut him, the Steelers would save $19 million in cap space and have $22,250,000 in dead money, according to Overthecap.com.
Pouncey, who turns 32 in July also has one year left on his contract. According to Spotrac.com, if Pouncey were to retire he would leave behind $6.475M of dead cap to the Steelers in 2021, freeing up $8 million of space.
Pouncey has earned nearly $75M in his 11-year career and has been named to nine Pro Bowls and was selected twice as first-team All-Pro. The only thing missing from his resume is a Super Bowl.
Pouncey sees the end of the road coming and he's just weighing his options on whether he wants to make one more run at a Super Bowl. If Roethlisberger returns for one more year, I bet Pouncey would join him, if he feels healthy enough that he can still play the game at a high level.
You can read the rest of Foster's article on Pouncey on DKPittsburghSports in the link below.