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COSTA MESA (CBSMiami/AP) — Mike Pouncey was the heart and soul of the Miami Dolphins offense since being drafted in 2011.
Although Pouncey is thrilled to start work with the Los Angeles Chargers, the center still has a few bittersweet thoughts about how his last job ended.
Pouncey joined Philip Rivers for the start of the offseason workout program Monday, exactly four weeks after he agreed to a two-year contract with the Chargers following his release by Miami.
Los Angeles was able to sign the three-time Pro Bowl center only because Pouncey had been abruptly dropped by the Dolphins, who apparently couldn’t make a deal on a restructuring of his contract.
Although Pouncey said he’s excited about a fresh start with a team that could get him to the playoffs for the first time, the manner in which the Dolphins dropped him still stings.
“I understand it happens,” Pouncey said. “It was just the way it happened. I was there for seven years, and for them to not bring me in, sit me down and let me know what was going on, especially the fact that me and my brother (Maurkice) worked out there every single day this offseason, sat down and met with the coaches every single day — it just didn’t sit well with me. Guys come in and get cut all the time, but I was there for seven years. They could have at least brought me in, instead of texting my agent and ignoring my phone calls and texts all day.”
Pouncey was a captain with the Dolphins, and he had spent his entire seven-year NFL career with the franchise. He also won a national title at the University of Florida after going to high school in central Lakeland, Florida.
“I love that city,” Pouncey said of Miami. “I was big in the community there. I was there my whole career. I’m a guy that doesn’t need much fuel to add to the fire, but when you do stuff like that and add fuel to the fire, it just makes you want to prove everybody wrong. So I’m excited for it.”
Pouncey played in all 16 games last season for the Dolphins after struggling with injuries in previous campaigns. Miami still moved on without him, instead choosing $7 million in salary cap savings.
“When my agent called me, it was kind of a shock I was getting released,” Pouncey said. “But when he called me and listed all the different teams that were interested in me, the Chargers were my first choice.”
The hard-hitting, versatile lineman should be an immediate upgrade for the Chargers, who went 9-7 while starting Spencer Pulley at center last season. Pouncey’s run-blocking proficiency is expected to boost Los Angeles’ rushing attack, which was only 26th in the league last season even while the prolific Chargers were fourth in total yards.
Pouncey is studying the Chargers’ offense during these early weeks of preparation, determined to learn the entire scheme quickly. He’s also excited to get to know Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney, the two second-year pros likely to line up alongside him as the Chargers’ guards.
As for Rivers, they’ll work on their snap technique in due time. There are plenty of other things to learn, like film room etiquette.
“I was actually sitting in his seat, and he got me up and moved me out of it,” Pouncey said with a laugh. “He’s a good dude.”
And while injuries have slowed his career at times, Pouncey is completely healthy despite playing every game last season.
“I’m going to make it through all 16 this year, no matter what,” Pouncey said. “I don’t care what it takes. I’m going to make it through all 16 and just go from there. It’s a mindset thing for me. I proved it to myself last year that I can do it, and I’m going to do it again.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)