“Free Hernandez” Distraction Not Helpful to Steelers, Maurkice Pouncey

Heading into the 2010 NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers had their sights firmly set on one man:  Maurkice Pouncey. Their infatuation with Pouncey was so strong that Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette said and never wavered in his prediction that the Steelers would take Pouncey long before the draft.

Pouncey gave the Steelers a lot to like, from a talent, leadership and character perspective. The Steelers went ahead and selected Pouncey with their first round pick, and have not looked back since as Pouncey won the starting job in training camp pushing veteran Justin Hartwig out of both his starting slot and his job.

Pouncey has started every game he has been healthy for since 2010, including shifting to guard for the Steelers upset road victory over the Baltimore Ravens with Charlie Batch under center.

Lately Pouncey has been in the news, and not necessarily for the right reasons. Court documents indicate that Pouncey, along with twin brother Mike Pouncey in addition to Tim Tebow, were present several years ago with Aaron Hernandez at a party in Florida where an alleged shooting took place.

And just this past weekend the website Deadspin published photos of both Pouncey’s wearing “Free Hernandez” hats.

Let’s be clear on one thing:

  • However damming the public evidence may be, Aaron Hernandez has been convicted of nothing.

And, from a certain standpoint, the desire of Pouncey to stand by a teammate is admirable.

Admirable or not, a more realistic perspective dictates that this is however one story which it is not wise to associate one’s self.

And clearly the Pittsburgh Steelers do not want or need one of their team leaders associated, even indirectly, associated with someone who is being implicated in multiple murders.

Clearly, the Steelers success or failure in 2013 has little to do whatever type of hat Maurkice Pouncey wears while at a private birthday party. But an unwanted distraction it is especially with training camp around the corner.

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