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Pouncey returns to Steeler lineup

PITTSBURGH — Maurkice Pouncey is free to get back to work. The Pittsburgh Steelers center is also free of regrets.

“The money was worth it, trust me,” Pouncey said Wednesday after returning from a two-game suspension for kicking and punching Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett during a late-game brawl on Nov. 14.

Pouncey kicked and punched Garrett repeatedly after Garrett ripped off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet then hit him in the head with it in the final seconds of a 21-7 Cleveland victory. Pouncey raced to Rudolph’s defense, attacking Garrett while Garrett was being held on the ground by Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro.

The league initially hit Pouncey with a three-game ban but reduced it to two on appeal.

“I think the guys knew, my teammates know I ride with you no matter what,” Pouncey said. “A lot of great came out of it.”

The Steelers (7-5) beat Cincinnati and Cleveland with B.J. Finney filling in. Pouncey credited Finney, who will be a free agent in March, for earning “a lot of money for himself” while Pouncey served his suspension.

“He played outstanding, man, honestly,” Pouncey said.

Pouncey, meanwhile, sat at home watching his teammates on TV.

NOTES: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) did some straight line running drills but otherwise did not practice and will likely miss his third consecutive game. RB James Conner (shoulder) was limited. … WR Dionate Johnson was limited due to an illness. … LB Mark Barron and Vance McDonald were given the day off.

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