Few people would accuse Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey of exercising good judgment.
He was the one wearing the "Free Hernandez" hat, remember, in support of his University of Florida pal Aaron Hernandez, after the former New England Patriots player was arrested on suspicion of murder. Although Pouncey's brother, Maurkice, apologized for wearing the same hat, Mike did not.
Pouncey was a central figure in the Dolphins bullying scandal too, identified in an NFL investigation as one of teammate Jonathan Martin's tormentors.
Then, there was Pouncey's tweet after the Dolphins drafted offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James: "Great pick! I can't wait for our gifts he's getting us lol." Even if that was a joke -- and Pouncey insists it was -- it suggests he's flippantly dismissive of a topic the league considers serious: veterans pressuring rookies to lavish them with gifts, expensive dinners and the like. Pouncey subsequently deleted his Twitter account.
It doesn't seem to bother Pouncey he's under the NFL's microscope at the moment, with the league saying he must undergo a mental-health evaluation before he's cleared to play this season.
At the Dolphins' first Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice this week, Pouncey spoke to reporters for the first time since the release of the league's report by investigator Ted Wells.
Asked about the evaluation and what it might entail, Pouncey said: "I have no clue, but I don't think I need that. I don't think I do."
According to the Miami Herald, Pouncey said he has no regrets about last season. He said he hasn't heard from the league about any additional punishment stemming from the Wells report, and that "no question" he expects to be on the field for the start of the season.
About the tweet, Pouncey said: "Obviously it was a joke, but I'm not here to be a distraction. It's all about football now. We've moved on from that."
Pouncey is a Pro Bowl player, so it's not surprising that Dolphins Coach Joe Philbin was anxious this week to quickly move on from any discussion of his public-relations missteps.
"The one thing that's without question about Mike Pouncey, which is important, is he wants to be a great football player," Philbin said.
No one questions that. But Pouncey clearly is far less concerned about his image off the field.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times