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Steelers notebook: Dolphins receiver Wallace takes heat in Miami

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By Alan Robinson
Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
 

• Former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace is taking heat in Miami for underperforming after signing a $60 million contract, the richest this year for an NFL free agent. Wallace (56 catches, 13.3 average per catch) made only his third TD catch Sunday. But Troy Polamalu is aware of the dangers Wallace brings with his world-class speed. “He's what we saw while he was here,” Polamalu said. Antonio Brown said he's been texting Wallace to keep his spirits up.

• The Bengals-Steelers game at Heinz Field on Dec. 15 remains as NBC's Sunday night game. The network chose not to flex out of the game, partly because there were no strong candidates to replace it; the Dolphins (6-6)-Patriots (9-3) game looked to be the best alternative.

• Offensive tackle Rashad Butler, cut recently by the Browns, left the Steelers on Monday for personal reasons without playing for them. Butler and center Eric Olsen signed over the weekend after tackles Kelvin Beachum (knee) and Mike Adams (ankle) and center Fernando Velasco (Achilles) were injured in Baltimore. Velasco is out for the season, and it's possible both Beachum and Adams might not be ready by Sunday. Both Butler and tackle Levi Brown (triceps) signed with the Steelers this season but never got into a game.

• Olsen met with offensive line coach Jack Bicknell and began reviewing the playbook immediately signing. “Any time you go to a new team, you have to catch up, especially this late in a season,” Olsen said. “Lucky for me, football is football. It's coming along. It's not an issue.” Olsen, a sixth-round pick by Denver in 2010, can play multiple positions.

• The Steelers are 7-3 against the Dolphins in Pittsburgh and are 3-0 since last losing to them in 1990. The wins came in 1994, 2006 and 2007. The 3-0 game in 2007 was decided by a last-minute Jeff Reed field goal on a newly laid grass field that became a mud pit after being inundated by a record 2½ inches of rain.

• If Cody Wallace starts Sunday, he'll be the Steelers' ninth offensive line starter and the third at center, following Pouncey and Velasco. Only right tackle Marcus Gilbert has started all 12 games. There have been two starters at each of the other four positions. Wallace said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger constantly stops in during the offensive line meetings and “bounces some things off us to make sure it all sounds good, so we are all on the same page” despite the changes.

— Alan Robinson

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