NFL one-upmanship, Pouncey-style

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:22 PM ET

INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Pouncey is actually older than his twin brother Maurkice, who started every regular-season game at centre for the Pittsburgh Steelers. So it’s only right that he should expect to better his twin’s draft position.

Mike made the decision to stay at Florida for his senior year this time a year ago while Maurkice, who had played alongside Mike every year since they were 6 years old, decided he was ready for the NFL and made the jump.

Now, Mike is ready to join him in the professional ranks, but he has conditions.

“I’ve got to be drafted higher than Maurkice, 18th or better,” Mike said Friday. Asked why that was important, he replied, “I’d never hear the end of it.”

Mike is the top-ranked interior lineman (he’ll work out at both guard and centre for the NFL teams) in this year’s draft and is hoping to follow in his brother’s footsteps and play centre. But he wants to do that just a little better than his younger brother, too.

“I want to beat him at everything,” he said. “We compete with each other with anything we do. I have to get into camp and I have to earn a starting spot and I have to play great like he did.”

CUTLER TOUGHNESS TALK OFF-LIMITS

The next guy to ask Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith about quarterback Jay Cutler’s toughness might best be wearing a helmet.

Smith has reached his last nerve with the subject, which came up again Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“Just to kind of hit Jay one last time ... no? There’s no question about Jay’s toughness or anything like that. For guys to even challenge that or question that don’t know what they’re talking about, don’t know him. He’s as tough as any quarterback in the league.

Cutler took plenty of heat for sitting out the second half of the Bears’ NFC final loss to Green Bay. It was later revealed he had a sprained MCL, but that diagnosis came well after fans, media and players around the league questioned his toughness.

“Really, I’ve said enough about him,” Smith said.

Smith, however did have reason to be happy Friday when news spread that his contract had been extended two years through 2013.

Shortly after the Bears revealed that news, they sent out another release announcing ticket prices for home games would be going up across the board.


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