Steelers notebook: Receiver Wallace not discouraged by booing
Mike Wallace wasn't surprised at being booed after dropping a downfield pass Sunday, saying he knew he would be under scrutiny all season because of his training-camp holdout.
“Anything I do is going to be magnified, good, bad,” Wallace said. “It's doesn't really matter. I just got to do what I need to do and handle my business and not give anybody a reason to say anything.”
And a big play will elicit cheering?
“Some (fans) would,” Wallace said. “I think they're out to get me a little bit.”
• Ben Roethlisberger, returning last week from his shoulder-related and rib injuries, planned to wear a protective vest and shoulder pads reinforced with Kevlar padding, all designed to reduce the force of any impact. But like many players on game day, he didn't feel comfortable. “I didn't wear anything different other than I had a little bit of padding on the outside of my shoulder pads,” Roethlisberger said. “It was a little bulky so I took it off.”
• When Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler interviewed for the UTEP head coaching job with athletic director Bob Stull, one of his first comments was, “I'm not leaving the team. If that keeps me from getting the job, it keeps me from getting the job,” Kugler said. It didn't, and now Kugler must do two jobs until the Steelers' season ends. “Right now the only thing I'm thinking about is getting these guys ready to play in Dallas,” he said Wednesday.
• Ryan Clark isn't the only Steeler to talk to opposing players. Roethlisberger has talked to several Colts players about what it's been like playing for interim coach Bruce Arians, the former Steelers offensive coordinator. He also talks regularly to Arians, who is filling in as coach Chuck Pagano battles cancer. “They really enjoy playing for him, and they respect him, and they've got something special going on over there,” Roethlisberger said. “It's neat to see with coach Pagano and everything they're going through.”
• Clark, the Steelers' players union representative, understands why coach Mike Tomlin is upset that Rashard Mendenhall was a no-show Sunday, even though he knew he wasn't playing. As Clark said, what if the circumstances change on game day? “I'm an inactive player and I know I'm not playing because I'm a healthy scratch. But what if Troy (Polamalu) wakes up in the morning and his foot swells? You can be put up (to play). So that's why you want a guy at the game, from my perspective.”
• Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (ankle), out for the past two games, was a full practice participant Wednesday. He never got on the practice field last week. Not practicing were cornerbacks Cortez Allen (groin), Ike Taylor (ankle) and Keenan Lewis (hip); tackle Mike Adams (ankle); receiver Emmanuel Sanders (shoulder); guard Willie Colon (knee); safety Troy Polamalu (rest day/calf); and linebacker James Harrison (illness). Allen's injury was described Tuesday by Tomlin as a hip flexor.
• Are the Steelers in the right frame of mind to shake off a season filled with surprising losses and make the playoffs? Wallace believes they are. A potential unrestricted free agent, Wallace might be playing his last few regular-season games in Pittsburgh, and the receiver doesn't want to leave without playing more January games. “We have three games to go hard and a playoff race to make and just try to do what we can,” Wallace said. “If we handle all of our business, all of those things will go away. Winning is the only thing that matters, and it makes everything better. If we win games and make plays, everything else will go out the window.”
• Roethlisberger, like many quarterbacks coming off an extended injury layoff, wasn't spectacular in his return. He went 22 of 42 for 285 yards and three TDs on Sunday, but he missed quite a few throws. He expects to be much better in Dallas. “I think I did come out a little anxious, a little rusty, but we just couldn't put it together,” Roethlisberger said. “It wasn't like we had any two positions doing the right thing. It was one of those funky things, and I think we've got it corrected.”
— Alan Robinson
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