A smiling and slimmer Mike Pouncey returned to Dolphins headquarters Wednesday after a serious health scare sidelined him over the weekend.
He's not the only one who has missed being away. Pouncey said Richie Incognito wants back in, too.
Pouncey and Incognito together watched the Dolphins' 20-16 win over the Chargers on Sunday at Pouncey's home — a surreal experience for two-fifths of the starting offensive line.
“He's doing really good,” Pouncey said of Incognito. “He's in good spirits. He wants to get back to this football team, get back and play football. Richie Incognito's a football player, and that's the only thing he knows. He's missing it to death.”
If Pouncey responds well physically the rest of the week, he hopes to play this weekend. However, Incognito is unlikely to ever again wear a Dolphins uniform.
He has been suspended indefinitely and became a national pariah after allegations he harassed Jonathan Martin surfaced more than two weeks ago.
Incognito has filed a grievance against the Dolphins that will be heard Thursday. However, even if the suspension is lifted, it's believed that the Dolphins will simply cut him and move on.
As for Pouncey, he finally had his turn with NFL investigator Ted Wells, who is reviewing the team's workplace conduct.
Pouncey said Wednesday "we all spoke" to Wells' people, an indication that the special counsel might be wrapping up his time in Miami.
"I feel like we're all at ease now," Pouncey said. "Now we can focus straight on football, so we can win games."
Pouncey seemed in good spirits Wednesday, particularly considering that a sit-down with an NFL fact-finder wasn't even the most stressful part of his week.
He came down with food poisoning Nov. 13 and struggled to keep anything down. Two days later, he didn't feel any better, and so the team sent him to a hospital.
Pouncey was released Saturday, participated in the team's walk-through, and then "it all hit me again," he said. He wouldn't specify what exactly was wrong, although NFL.com has reported it was an issue with his gallbladder.
Altogether, he was hospitalized for a few nights. Coaches and teammates came to visit, and general manager Jeff Ireland kept in close contact, Pouncey said.
Early in the day Wednesday, Pouncey announced his return on Twitter, writing: "Back 2 life! #letsgetit"
Then shortly before practice, he tweeted a picture of a get-well card and a can of soup he said came courtesy of his fellow offensive linemen.
"It's always great to have one of your main guys back," said guard John Jerry, who was one of Pouncey's visitors at the hospital. "I think we did a great job of handling the situation that was thrown at us. But at the same time, you want those guys back."
Pouncey claims he lost five pounds from the ordeal, but his leaner face and body Wednesday suggested it was even more.
He warmed up with the team Wednesday, but after stretches, Pouncey left with strength coach Darren Krein and did not return.
Joe Philbin was predictably tight-lipped about Pouncey's health, saying only, "[he] looked good to me."
Pouncey doesn't believe the illness is something that will affect him long-term, but while he wants to return to the field immediately, he's listening to his doctors and coaches.
The health scare was just the latest misadventure in Pouncey's eventful fall, which has included a subpoena to appear before a grand jury in the Aaron Hernandez investigation.
"If I make it through 2013 without having a heart attack, I'll be good," Pouncey said. "Seriously, it's been a rough one.”
Added Pouncey: "I think I've been playing really great football. I've actually used it as a chip on my shoulder so I can go and play in games. It's part of the reason I've played so well.”