Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey says he has "no regrets" about his role in an ugly fight at the end of their week 11 game against their division rivals, the Cleveland Browns. Pouncey spoke to reporters for the first time since he was suspended for two games for joining the melee in the end zone after Browns defensive end Myles Garrett struck Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet.
Pouncey said he understands why he was suspended but believes that standing up for his teammates was worth it.
"The NFL had to make a statement, and rightfully so," he said. "At the end of the day, the fight didn't look good, but the fight was worth it."
Pouncey was initially suspended for three games but argued during his appeal that he stopped fighting as soon as the referees broke up the brawl.
"As soon as the brawl stopped, I stopped," Pouncey said. "They didn't have to stop me. I wasn't chasing down the players. It was just one guy."
His punishment was reduced by one game, and Pouncey served the two-game suspension, which included a rematch against the Browns.
"No regrets," he told reporters. "I've moved on now, man. Everyone had to pay their fines. Everyone had to do their due diligence. The money was worth it, trust me."
He said that he appreciated the support of his teammates, who wore "Free Pouncey" shirts after he was suspended. Following the Steelers' victory against the Browns on Sunday, team captain Cam Heyward showed up at Pouncey's home and surprised him with a game ball.
"I never got a game ball sitting at the house," Pouncey said. "It was pretty cool."
Pouncey says that he feels refreshed after spending the last two weeks working out in gyms around Pittsburgh.
"I feel like this is the beginning of the year," Pouncey said. "I've got a lot of energy. We're going to see how things turn out today at practice. I know all the guys are excited. We've just got to stay humbled and focused."
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