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Steelers' O-line house parties include laser therapy, steaks, haircuts

PITTSBURGH -- This is how the NFL does spa day.

For the last few years, the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive linemen have gathered at center Maurkice Pouncey's house on Thursday nights during the season. But this isn't your typical pizza-and-football affair.

These dudes go all out, hiring a barber, a chiropractor and the occasional masseuse. They all set up inside Pouncey's house. Players can get a fade, alignment help and deep tissue work -- all within an hour.

The tradition started with former Steelers linemen Chris Kemoeatu, and Pouncey continued it.

Offensive linemen are unique, quirky creatures who stick together, especially after loaded work days and maligned lower backs.

"You have to celebrate each other," guard Ramon Foster said. "You take so much crap in the O-line room. Nobody underestimates your job, but when you do well, you don't get praised for it, if you don't play well, you hear about it. This is a chance to relax and enjoy the week."

The chiropractic work happens in the basement, where "Thursday Night Football" will play on the big screen. The barber works out of Pouncey's kitchen for an easy clean-up.

The chiropractor provides laser therapy to, as players say, break down cells in the body for recovery. Almost like an ultrasound, the treatment is more cold than painful. There's also a chamber bed for comfort during the service.

The player's insurance covers the work, said Foster, who prefers to get his sore wrists and jammed fingers worked out.

"Back, neck, ankles, shoulders -- you can get anything," tackle Ryan Harris said. "Inflammation, too."

These players can buy killer parties. Guard David DeCastro was recently signed to a $58-million extension, and veterans Foster, DeCastro, Pouncey and right tackle Marcus Gilbert have contracts worth up to $142 million.

Then there's left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who hasn't hit free agency yet. The other four recently clowned him with a picture of them holding bags of money and Villaneuva holding pennies.

Gang Gang‼️

A photo posted by Maurkice Pouncey (@maurkicepouncey) on

The atmosphere among them is always loose. They might break out a little Madden NFL 17, depending on the mood.

"Bengals-Steelers," Villanueva said.

Young players are required to bring the food. Capital Grille steaks or Chipotle are among the favorites. Fourth-rounder Jerald Hawkins is the only true rookie. B.J. Finney and practice squad tackle Matt Feiler have been in Pittsburgh for one season.

Quarterback Zach Mettenberger was a recent surprise guest.

"It's a good time. It's just us, but coaches and players can come, too," Pouncey said. "The door is always open."

The Steelers are fourth in the NFL in scoring offense (31.0 points per game) and are among the top 10 in total yards and rushing yards.

The offensive line is a catalyst for those numbers, with DeAngelo Williams leading all NFL rushers with 237 yards.

The success transcends play calls and no-huddle offenses. They believe the camaraderie makes them better.

"We have that one day where we can just get away and just kick it and enjoy each other and get a copule of laughs in," Gilbert said.