Mike Pouncey doesn't think he needs a mental health evaluation, and doesn't have any regrets about last season. That's the bottom line of what he said to the media today following the Miami Dolphins' first day of Organized Team Activities. And, you know what, he's not wrong.
People are going to jump all over Pouncey, who responded, "I have no clue. I don't think I need that, I don't think I do," when asked what the NFL mandated evaluation would entail. He's the whipping boy for the team right now, and, for a large part, it's because he cannot seem to get out of his own way.
He chose to wear a "Free Hernandez" hat during his birthday party last year, despite the fact that former Florida Gators teammate Aaron Hernandez was being indicted for murder. He chose to participate in the rookie hazing of Jonathan Martin that appears to have gone out of control. He chose to tweet that he cannot wait for the gifts from first-round draft pick Ja'Wuan James.
Pouncey is not doing himself any favors.
The Pro Bowl center is the only member of the Dolphins identified in the Wells Report, the NFL's investigation into the allegations of misconduct brought by Martin, still with the team. Martin has since been traded to the San Francisco 49ers while guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry, both said to have participated with Pouncey in the "patterns of harassment" aimed at Martin, were not re-signed when their contracts concluded at the end of the league year. Jerry has since signed with the New York Giants, while Incognito is still a free agent. Pouncey is the one player on the Dolphins who will get the media attention for any perceived misstep in treatment of the rookies or on social media.
He has deleted his Twitter account, following the tweet about James, a tweet he described to as, "obviously a joke."
Which brings us back to the question - is he wrong? No.
Should he have regrets about last year? Maybe in the actual treatment of Martin. Looking back on the situation, maybe he should have seen some sort of sign that things weren't right with the team's 2012 second-round draft pick. Could Pouncey have known, though, when Martin's best friend on the team was said to be Incognito, the "ring-leader" in the abuse, according to Wells?
Maybe he should have some regrets there. And, perhaps he does.
But, when it comes to on the field performance, what's there to regret? Pouncey made the Pro Bowl in a year in which the Dolphins allowed 58 sacks, a franchise record. He was the rock in the middle of a bad offensive line, and there's a reason he is the one starter returning to that line in 2014.
Pouncey did not let the media circus that the Wells Report became, interfere with his performance on the field.
He should not regret that.
Maybe he should regret the hat. Maybe he should regret the tweet.
Maybe he regrets all of it, but just didn't feel he needed to say that to the media.
And, he probably doesn't feel he needs a mental health evaluation. Remember, the Dolphins backed Incognito through most of the Wells Report saga. They did not feel that Incognito, and ultimately Jerry and Pouncey, were doing anything out of the ordinary. Pouncey clearly feels that's true.
Several Dolphins players came out after the Wells Report and again backed Incognito, Pouncey, and Jerry.
If the team is standing behind the players and pointing to the "abuse" the Wells Report sites as someone from outside the NFL not understanding the culture inside the NFL, then why would Pouncey thin he needs a mental health evaluation?
He never said he wouldn't get one. He simply said he did not think he needed one.
I once had to have a full neurological exam to prove that a concussion I had nine year earlier was not causing any complications in my life. Did I think I needed one? Nope. Did I have it? Yep, because my work said I needed it.
I understand that people want Pouncey to just be quiet. They want him to perform on the field, but stop having these incidents off the field. We all want that. We all want to stop having the team name be embarrassed because one player said something to the media.
I just don't see this as one of those embarrassments.