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Pittsburgh Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey and twin brother Mike Pouncey of Los Angeles Chargers retire

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PITTSBURGH -- Twin centers Maurkice Pouncey and Mike Pouncey have retired from the NFL, Ramon Foster, a former teammate of Maurkice, announced on Twitter.

"It's my honor that my brothers from another asked me to announce the next stage in their life. After over a decade @MaurkicePouncey and Mike Pouncey are RETIRING from the @nfl," Foster tweeted.

Maurkice was drafted No. 18 overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 draft, while Mike went 15th overall to the Miami Dolphins the following year. The two were instantly full-time starters for their teams, primarily at center, though Mike spent a season at right guard in Miami.

"We began this journey at 6 years old and now at 31 we will close this chapter of our lives as I announce my retirement from the @nfl and walk away from the game," Mike Pouncey said in a statement provided by Foster.

While Maurkice played 11 seasons with the Steelers, Mike spent 10 seasons between the Dolphins and Chargers after their college careers at Florida. Mike's final season ended in September, when he went on injured reserve with season-ending hip surgery. A year earlier, the four-time Pro Bowler's season ended early with a neck injury suffered in early October.

Maurkice Pouncey and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are close friends and often vowed to play as long as the other. Each has a contract that runs through the 2021 season, though Roethlisberger has not announced his intentions for the upcoming season. With his retirement, Pouncey leaves behind $6.475 million in dead cap, but he saves the team $8 million in cap space.

The emotional moments Maurkice Pouncey spent with Roethlisberger on the bench after the Steelers' wild-card playoff loss Jan. 10 ended up being his last in the NFL.

"I love that guy," Roethlisberger said after the season-ending loss. "He is one of the best competitors and teammates I've ever had. It's been so much fun to share a football field with him. I hate that it ended the way it did. I just wanted to apologize to him that I wanted to win it for him."

Maurkice Pouncey, a nine-time Pro Bowler, had been telling teammates and those close to him he was seriously considering retirement since the wild-card loss, sources told ESPN.

"I'll always love the game of football & always will be the ultimate competitor in life @nfl @steelers ! I'm jus not in love with the sacrifice football carries on my life, my beautiful daughters Jayda, Marley & my family!" Maurkice Pouncey said in a statement provided by Foster.

A fiercely loyal teammate, Maurkice Pouncey also missed two games in 2019 after being suspended for his role in the brawl with the Cleveland Browns as he defended Mason Rudolph against Myles Garrett.

"You have a feel for people," Foster, a former offensive lineman, said a year ago. "You know if somebody's not for you. His thing is, if you're one of his teammates, he loves and respects the heck out of you."

Pouncey's departure creates a leadership void on the Steelers' offense. The two-time first-team All-Pro center was a part of the group that gave a fiery speech at halftime of the Steelers' Week 16 win against the Indianapolis Colts that helped the second-half turnaround.

"As I write this farewell speech I cry & laugh that twin boys from Lakeland FL that grew up in poverty made it this far in life both living out NFL dreams," Maurkice wrote.