The Steelers have finally begun addressing the offensive line after all this time, with some quality picks in the last 2 years. Maurkice Pouncey in 2010 and now Marcus Gilbert here in the 2011 draft. The depth, or lackthereof, was tested beyond it’s limits last season. We are now starting to see some quality personnel available behind the starters. I am personally excited to see this kid hit the field, he’s got all the potential to start making an impact in 2011. He’ll have the luxury though, atleast as far as we know now, of working behind Max Starks and Flozell Adams for atleast a year before he’s pressed into active duty full time. This is just the scenario that many of us were hoping would pan out. Bring back Flozell for his final year in 2011, let Gilbert learn and get some experience and then be ready to step in for the 2012 campaign at RT. The majority of his experience is at Tackle but he can also play Guard as well, which is just what the Steelers love in a lineman; versatility.
Marcus Gilbert Conference Call
Hey, how are you doing? Thank you very much.
Did you know that the Steelers were this interested in you, and that this was a place that you might end up?
It was a high possibility. There were a couple of teams that had a lot of interest in me. But, really I felt, and I was hoping for the Steelers. They have a great organization. The Pittsburgh Steelers, year-in-and-year-out, they compete for a championship. And that’s what I want to do. I want to come in and I want to help them win championships by doing anything I can do.
How does it feel to be reunited with former teammate Maurkice Pouncey on the line?
It’s great. It’s a blessing. Just to go to a team with a former Gator and a former offensive lineman that I played next to is a blessing. I can learn a lot from him. He can teach me a lot and I can follow his lead. He came in and did a heck of a job. I’m just ready to help lead, to help us get to the top. I’m looking forward to playing for Coach Kugler.
What has he told you about playing for the Steelers so far?
It’s a winning tradition. When you come in, you better bring your lunch pale. You have to come in and work hard every day. You have to bring it, week-in, week-out, no days off. The reason they drafted me is they have a lot of faith in me. It all starts with God. I’m just out of words to say right now.
What is your position? What is your preferred position on the line?
With me, I feel that Offensive Line Coach, Steve Addazio, at the University of Florida has done a great job of training us, all of the linemen to play all different positions. I just think I’m blessed to have a coach like that. And it’s going to help me out in this whole draft process right now. I’m very happy to get this opportunity. I’ll come in and play any position that they need me to play.
It was a little bit of an adjustment for Maurkice to get used to the cold weather here in
Pittsburgh. Do you think you can handle that?
Yeah, I can handle it. It’s football. Your adrenaline is going to kick in. Whenever my number is called, anything I can do I’m going to come in and I’m going to handle business. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to play at a great organization. I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to taking full advantage of it.
Have you heard from Maurkice yet?
I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls. He’s probably called me and texted me, but as soon as I get off of here, I’m going to reach out to him. I’m going to connect with him. I know he’s very happy to have me on his side. I’m just very proud to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.
What did you think of him wearing that Dolphins hat with his brother last night?
Those guys are clowns. They are like best friends. All of us are like best friends. We just pull for each other. We try for each other to get to the top. But you know, Mike would have been that high. I guess I was the second guy in line and they gave me this opportunity.
Maurkice is actually kind of quiet around us. Are you saying he is more of a clown than we would know?
When you get the twins together, it’s like a comedy show. But they bring it every day, so you can’t ever knock them. They are two of the hungriest players I’ve been around. If you want to win games, you want to be around guys like that to be on your team. And obviously, the Pittsburgh Steelers made that decision last year. It worked out really well for them. Maurkice, he’s serious. He’s serious, especially around the Steeler Nation when he’s on the field. But off the field, those guys like to have a good time. But he knows when it’s time to turn it on and off.
Were you ever able to tag along with your dad [Jeffrey Gilbert, recent retiree from the Secret Service]? Are there any famous people you’ve run across? Have you met any Presidents?
Yes I met Bill Clinton and I met President Obama. I know I had a better relationship with President Obama. He keeps in touch with my dad. So I know he was thrilled for me. It was a great experience too, having somebody like my dad to grow up around with the Presidents and watching the elections, just enjoying it. That was another humbling experience. Without my dad, I wouldn’t have made it this far. He taught me a lot.
Did you ever want to do the same thing he did, or was football always your thing?
I thought about it very hard. But football is something I always wanted to do. I grew up as a little kid watching the draft. It was my dream come true to be selected one day. And it’s here.
The offensive line coach for the Steelers said you could play all four positions on the line. Of your 30 career starts at Florida, how many were at tackle and how many were at guard?
I started three games at guard and 27 games at tackle.
Transcript courtesy of Steelers.com