Miami Dolphins’ Mike Pouncey has no regrets, says he doesn’t need mental health evaluation

Mike Pouncey was defiant Tuesday regarding his role in the bullying scandal. Meanwhile, coaches lauded the center’s ‘effort and energy’ this offseason.

05/28/2014 12:00 AM

05/28/2014 1:15 PM

Regrets, Joe Philbin has a few.

Most notably: Not having an active enough role within the Miami Dolphins’ locker room during a 2013 season consumed by distraction and discord.

But how about Mike Pouncey, one of the three players identified by Ted Wells as Jonathan Martin’s tormentors?

“No, not at all,” Pouncey said Tuesday when asked if he has any regrets for how last year unfolded.

Furthermore, Pouncey said he does not believe he needs the NFL-mandated medical evaluation stemming from the team’s bullying scandal.

Pouncey made those remarks after the Dolphins’ first Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice Tuesday, meeting with reporters for the first time since the release of the Wells Report.

Wells, the NFL-appointed investigator, said Pouncey and fellow offensive linemen Richie Incognito and John Jerry engaged in a pattern of abuse directed at teammates and Dolphins staff. The league has decided that Pouncey must undergo a mental-health evaluation before being allowed to play this fall — a prospect Pouncey is not happy about.

Asked what the evaluation would entail, Pouncey responded: “I have no clue, but I don’t think I need that. I don’t think I do.”

After fielding a string of question about the bullying scandal, Pouncey was asked if he has any regrets about how last season went.

“No, not at all,” he said.

Pouncey has not yet heard from the league about any additional punishment, but “no question” he expects to be on the field when the season starts. The NFL had no comment to Pouncey’s latest thoughts.

During a brief Q&A, Pouncey also addressed his much-scrutinized draft-night tweet. Back on May 8, Pouncey reacted to the Dolphins selecting offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James by writing: “Great pick! I can’t wait for our gifts he’s getting us lol.”

Young Dolphins players such as Martin, who is now a member of the San Francisco 49ers, have complained that they’ve been pressured to spend money on entertainment for veteran players.

Said Pouncey: “Obviously, [the tweet] was a joke, but I’m not here to be a distraction. It’s all about football right now. We’ve moved on from that.”

He has since deactivated his Twitter account.

Pouncey’s tumultuous 2013 — which included a grand-jury subpoena to testify in the Aaron Hernandez case — has had no noticeable impact on his place within the team.

Though Incognito and Jerry are both gone, Pouncey was back in his familiar role Tuesday: starting center for the Miami Dolphins. In fact, his job has never seemed so secure.

The Dolphins recently picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, and Pouncey was part of the welcoming party for prospective free agents in March.

“The one thing that’s without question about Mike Pouncey, which is important, is he wants to be a great football player,” Philbin said. “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 offseason, and today’s Day 1,” Philbin added. “It’s a long, long process, but he’s off to a good start.”

New offensive line coach John Benton said Pouncey has been an “outstanding leader,” while first-year coordinator Bill Lazor said “the bar has been set.”

Lazor added: “I expect him to live up to what the billing is ... a guy who was just in the Pro Bowl and everyone in the organization looks to as a leader.”

•  Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner alternated first-team repetitions at left guard Tuesday. But neither is necessarily going to begin the season there. Benton said Thomas, Turner and Shelley Smith — who worked at right guard — “are three guys competing for both guard spots. It doesn’t matter where you’re taking your reps at this point.”
•  Kick returner Marcus Thigpen, who is dealing with a back issue, was the only player missing from Tuesday’s practice. Defensive tackle Jared Odrick, tight end Arthur Lynch and linebacker Tariq Edwards all worked with athletic trainers during much of the session. Brandon Gibson, the wide receiver who tore his patellar tendon last season, practiced in a limited capacity.
•  The Dolphins announced a new charitable initiative with AARP Tuesday, a five-year partnership that aims to assist older adults facing challenges with hunger, isolation, income and housing needs. The organizations will hold a joint event Sept. 20, with the goal of packing one million meals for older adults and their families in the South Florida region.
•  The Dolphins signed defensive tackle Micajah Reynolds and offensive lineman Samuel Longo.

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