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Pouncey expects '100 percent' anthem participation

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  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
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Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey told reporters Wednesday that he expects 100 percent participation from the team during this Sunday's national anthem ahead of Pittsburgh's game in Baltimore against the Ravens.

Following comments from President Trump last Friday at a political rally in Alabama, Steelers players decided during a team meeting over the weekend that they would not go onto the field during the anthem. Head coach Mike Tomlin and other coaches stood on the sideline during the anthem, while offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former U.S. Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan, stood separately outside of the tunnel during "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Villanueva and Ben Roethlisberger have since expressed regret at how Sunday played out, and Tomlin used the majority of his Tuesday session with the media to discuss the fallout over his team's actions during the playing of the national anthem.

"As far as I know, it's 100 percent participation (this week in national anthem)," Pouncey said.

"We love this country. This is America," Pouncey added. "Yeah, we know that there's injustice in this world and different things, but for me, personally, football is football. And that's why we need to end our protest. I told a lot of the guys if you want to do anything in the offseason, or on Tuesdays, I'm fully for it. Team Pouncey will be there with you with everybody we have in organization. We'll be there and we'll help you do whatever you want. But we're football players. And I hate that media and everyone else tries to put politics in this and all this different stuff. Trust me, this team loves this flag. We love what we represent. In this whole entire organization, trust me. Mr. Rooney -- we feel just as bad as everybody else does because it's a lot on our shoulders. And trust me, we really do. And this week we're going to show that. We know that we're sorry for all our fans that were upset about the things that went down. I honestly think that we'll come together and all this will be totally out the window."

Per Pouncey: "Some people obviously feel that we did some things that were disrespectful. In a lot of people's eyes. But at the end of the day, we accept what happened. We're going to grow from it. We just didn't want to be a part of politics and were going to go out there and play football. But we are going to be out there for the national anthem."

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