The Miami Dolphins have seen two of their centers immortalized in bronze with a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jim Langer, who played for the Dolphins from 1970 to 1979, was inducted into Canton in 1987, while his replacement, Dwight Stephen (1980-1987) joined him there in 1998. The current center for Miami, Mike Pouncey, hopes to one day find himself next to Langer and Stephenson.
"They play it all the time for us," Pouncey told the Palm Beach Post's Andrew Abramson of the team watching tape of the Stephenson led offensive line blocking for quarterback Dan Marino. That line only allowed 13 sacks throughout the 1984 season, a year Marino would become the first quarterback to ever pass for more than 5,000 yards. "We watch it in the O-line room to joke around, see how those guys played back in the day. Those guys were heck of football players."
Could Pouncey, who has not been to the Pro Bowl yet in his career despite being graded higher than his three time Pro Bowl younger twin brother Maurkice of the Pittsburgh Steelers, reach levels to put himself in the conversation with Langer or Stephenson?
According to Stephenson, it's very possible.
"He's got athleticism, strength and he's smart," Stephenson told Aramson. "He has the leadership abilities to be one of the best to ever play the game."
High praise from one of the players who is actually considered among the best to ever play the game.
The Dolphins will rely on Pouncey this year to lead an offensive line that needs to come together following the loss of Jake Long, the move of Jonathan Martin from the right to left tackle, and the addition of right tackle Tyson Clabo. But, if Pouncey plays up to the levels we've already seen from him, he should be able to lead the line to a successful season.