Maurkice Pouncey expects all Steelers players will stand for anthem Sunday

PITTSBURGH -- The entire Pittsburgh Steelers team plans to stand for the national anthem Sunday at Baltimore, center Maurkice Pouncey said Wednesday.

"I care about the flag dearly," Pouncey said. "Trust me, this team will be out there standing."

Asked about full participation, Pouncey said, "As I know it, it's 100 percent."

"We love this country," Pouncey continued. "This is America. Yes, we know there are injustices in this world. For me personally, football is for football; that's what we'll approach it as."

A source said some Steelers players have discussed kneeling Sunday but it's uncertain whether that will happen. Tension was palpable among the team after a botched anthem plan Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago that ended up with left tackle Alejandro Villanueva standing alone (unintentionally, he said) outside the tunnel, the rest of the team inside and coach Mike Tomlin on the sideline.

Defensive end Cameron Heyward said about Pouncey's comments, "Getting ready for the game Sunday, that's it -- honor our flag, pay tribute, move forward."

Pouncey reiterated Tomlin's message this week that the team did not want to engage in political statements.

The team wants to "make it right," Pouncey added.

"I hate that the media and everyone else tries to put politics in this stuff," Pouncey said. "Trust me, this team loves this flag, we love what we represent, Al and this whole organization, Mr. Rooney. We feel just as bad as everybody else does because there's a lot on our shoulders. ... I honestly think we'll come together and this will be totally out the window."

Linebacker Arthur Moats said standing for the anthem is "what I've been doing my whole life," but he wouldn't speak on whether the rest of the team has the same feeling.

"We saw what happened last week, so I'm done speaking on everybody else," Moats said.