Pittsburgh Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey looks to improve image

Maurkice Pouncey and his twin brother Mike are Pro Bowl players on the field, and though they aren't considered bad guys off of it, their images have taken a hit.

Viral pictures of them wearing "Free Hernandez" hats didn't help. Neither did accusations of a nightclub assault, though charges were never filed.

With five years of NFL experience, leadership in the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room and a $44-million contract, Pouncey seems to understand the maturation required of his stature when speaking at the Pounceys' football camp in their hometown of Lakeland.

“We made some mistakes in the past and we learned from them," Pouncey said, according to theledger.com. "I’m glad they happened because you always got to learn in life. We were young … then, but we’re grown up and trying to be the positive role models -- something for these kids back in Lakeland to look up to -- and it means a lot to us. Anytime we did get in trouble in the past, it hit us in the heart. We learned the hard way.”

Pouncey seems to be in a reflective mood, telling me a few weeks ago when discussing teammate Le'Veon Bell's suspension that young NFL players need room to grow.

"They expect as soon as you get drafted that you have to act like you’re 40-year-old person and that doesn’t happen," Pouncey said.

If players are judged by actions above all else, then Pouncey seems eager to validate his.