Mike Wallace or Antonio Brown?
Last summer, Pittsburgh’s brass had a momentous decision to make when it came to which receiver they would sign to a long-term contract extension. Already mired in “salary cap hell” and unable to extend both, Pittsburgh’s front office elected to ink Brown instead of Wallace and the former Central Michigan Chippewa was the proud recipient of a five-year extension worth $42.5 million.
Obviously incensed by the decision, Wallace sat out for most of the preseason and his performance during his contract-campaign was less than stellar. In fact, Wallace’s production from the season before dropped off considerably (72 catches and 1,193 yards to 64 catches and 836 yards) and his drops as well as piss-poor attitude about Todd Haley’s offensive scheme did not endear him to many in Pittsburgh either.
Wallace eventually skipped town this spring and signed a new free agent deal worth $60 million over five years with the Miami Dolphins. Miami’s most expensive free agent acquisition is not expecting to hear many cheers this weekend when his team travels to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers.
According to Scott Brown of ESPN.com, Wallace “definitely” expects to hear boos from “Steeler Nation” on Sunday afternoon. In addition, Wallace had this to say about coming back to Pittsburgh:
I already know how my welcome is going to be — it’s not going to be too pretty, … I’m looking forward to it, though. It’s exciting.
After he sat out preseason play, showed off his alligator arms and butter-fingers on a consistent basis, and pissed and moaned about Pittsburgh’s coaching staff last fall, I cannot say that I expect any at Heinz Field to be cheering for Wallace when the Dolphins take the field.
While I hope the fans aren’t whipping batteries at the wide receiver, I do hope that “Steeler Nation” is more than willing to serenade the jagoff who supposedly doesn’t like inclement weather with plenty of boos when he comes out of the tunnel on a cold day.
Of course, Wallace could just as easily use the disdain from the crowd to fuel him to a career-performance on Sunday as well. Ike Taylor has been mercilessly scorched by Calvin Johnson, Josh Gordon, and Torrey Smith in each of the last three weeks, and the secondary has been a liability for much of the season when it has come to big plays.
I just hope that Pittsburgh’s defensive backs can make Wallace’s return as unpleasant as the home crowd is sure to do when the Dolphins come to town. Otherwise, Mr. Wallace could be getting a large measure of revenge by helping to knock his former team out of contention for a postseason berth on their home field.
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