DAVIE, Fla. — Miami Dolphins centre Mike Pouncey claims to have no regrets about last season’s incidents in a bullying scandal in which an NFL-sanctioned investigator identified him and two teammates as principals involved.
Pouncey talked to reporters Tuesday for the first time since the Ted Wells report implicated him, left guard Richie Incognito and right guard John Jerry as being behind alleged hazing and harassment of tackle Jonathan Martin.
“No, not at all,” Pouncey said when asked if he had any regrets. “We’ve moved on from that. I’m not worried about anything in 2013, honestly, it’s all about 2014 for me.”
On October 28, three days before the Dolphins played Cincinnati, Martin abruptly left the team after storming out of the cafeteria, and never returned. It wasn’t until the Wells report was released that Pouncey’s name was directly attached.
The NFL is waiting for him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before issuing any discipline. Pouncey said he does not need such an evaluation.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin stood behind Pouncey during his news conference after the practice. Philbin confirmed that he and the team will be in constant communication with the league regarding any discipline for Pouncey.
“The one thing that’s without question about Mike Pouncey which is important is he wants to be a great football player,” said Philbin, who invited Pouncey to a dinner with free agent left tackle Branden Albert before the team signed him. “He wants to make a valuable contribution to the Miami Dolphins, and he’s not unlike any other player that we have in terms of there’s an educational process every player goes through. But I love the effort and energy that he brings and that he’s put forth into this off-season and today’s Day 1. It’s a long, long process, but he’s off to a good start.”
New offensive co-ordinator Bill Lazor also expressed confidence in Pouncey’s leadership.
“Mike and I walk into this professional relationship with a real clear picture,” Lazor said. “I spoke with him on the phone and I laid out what I was looking for. He was very excited to do it and I think he’s the right guy to do it.”
Pouncey didn’t help matters last month after Miami drafted Tennessee right tackle Ja’Wuan James in the first round when he tweeted he was looking forward to the gifts James would have to deliver to the veterans. The 2011 first-round pick insisted he was joking, reiterating that he believes he is the type of leader his teammates want him to be.
Incognito, Jerry, Martin, Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie all started alongside Pouncey on the offensive line at times last season. Now, only Pouncey remains.
In addition to signing Albert and veteran guard Shelley Smith, the Dolphins drafted James and guard/tackle Billy Turner in the early rounds. All of them were aware of the issues that plagued that unit in 2013.
Philbin knew that would have to be addressed.
“We didn’t really say an awful lot,” he said. “We want them to make their own decisions. When they walk into the building, when they feel the energy, the excitement that the coaching staff has in working with these guys every day, when they see the way these players are treated by our equipment staff, by our security staff and by our medical staff, I don’t really have to say a whole lot.
“The people that come to work here every single day create an outstanding atmosphere … and again I think the players feel that. If you have to talk about that, then you probably don’t have one.”
NOTES: WR Brandon Gibson was back to work after recovering from a torn patellar tendon that cost him the last nine games of 2013. … Former star defensive end Jason Taylor was on the field Tuesday as a special guest coach. … Koa Misi worked at middle linebacker, with Danell Ellerbe joining Philip Wheeler on the outside, which was a switch from previous lineups.