Assessing Mike Pouncey's Place in Dolphins History

Former Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey and his twin brother Maurkice announced their retirement Friday
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Mike and Maurkice Pouncey have always been close, so maybe it was fitting that they would jointly announce their retirement from the NFL on Friday.

The two former Pro Bowl centers did so through the Instagram account of good friend and former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Ramon Foster.

The two brothers both expressed their gratitude for living the dream they had as kids growing up in Lakeland, Florida, and thanking those who helped them along the way.

For Mike, that meant a chance to say thanks to the Miami Dolphins organization, which drafted him with the 15th overall selection in the 2011 NFL draft — one year after the Steelers made Maurkice the 18th overall pick.

"I would like to thank the @miamidolphins, Mr. (Stephen) Ross, Jeff Ireland, Mike Tannenbaum and the entire front office for giving me the opportunity to live out my childhood dream of playing in the NFL," Pouncey wrote.

Mike Pouncey played the first seven of his nine NFL seasons with the Dolphins, starting all 93 games he played.

He made the Pro Bowl four times, three with the Dolphins and one with the L.A. Chargers after he joined them in 2018.

Pouncey's time in Miami did not end particularly smoothly, with the team releasing him during the 2018 offseason and later replacing him with veteran Daniel Kilgore via a trade with the San Francisco 49ers.

But at his peak, Pouncey was a good center for the Dolphins. A very good center.

Unfortunately for him, he never got the chance to play in a playoff game during his NFL career because his season ended prematurely in 2016, the one year the Dolphins reached the postseason during his time there.

Pouncey played only five games that season, but he was in the lineup for the first four wins in a six-game winning streak that propelled the Dolphins to the playoffs. It also was with Pouncey in the lineup that Jay Ajayi had back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances against the Steelers and Buffalo Bills.

It's no stretch to suggest that the Dolphins starting offensive line during that five-game span — left tackle Branden Albert, left guard Laremy Tunsil, Pouncey, right guard Jermon Bushrod and right tackle Ja'Wuan James — represents the best unit the team has fielded in recent memory.

Pouncey was the latest in a long line of really, really good Dolphins centers and while no one is going to put him in the same category as Hall of Famers Jim Langer or Dwight Stephenson, he's probably the best since Stephenson's career ended prematurely in 1987.

Here's what else we can say about Pouncey: While his impact could only go so far because of the position he played, he still has to rank as the Dolphins' best first-round pick of the 2010s.

For starters, he is the only Dolphins first-round pick of the decade to be selected to the Pro Bowl while playing for Miami. And he was selected three times, twice as a center and once as a guard after he switched positions after the return of Samson Satele to Miami.

After making the Pro Bowl nine times in 10 seasons, Maurkice Pouncey figures to earn consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in five years. Mike wasn't quite as decorated, but the bottom line remains he was a very good NFL player for a long time and made the Dolphins look good for taking him in the first round 10 years ago.