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Steelers new offensive coordinator Haley, QB Roethlisberger yet to talk

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Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

Ben Roethlisberger hasn't talked to offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

"He still hasn't called yet," Roethlisberger said with a discouraged tone Monday.

Roethlisberger spent about five minutes Monday at the Steelers facility and likely won't have a chance to run into Haley soon.

Steelers coaches, including Haley, will be leaving Wednesday for Indianapolis, site of the NFL Combine. The invite workout for draft-eligible players will take place through the weekend.

Haley was introduced as the offensive coordinator Feb. 9 and spoke highly of Roethlisberger.

General manager Kevin Colbert said during a number of interviews last week that Haley has been busy in meetings and with the transition to a new city over the past two weeks.

While Haley is permitted interaction with players during the offseason, under the new collective bargaining agreement, Haley can't request a meeting with any of them, including Roethlisberger.

Teams with returning head coaches can start their nine-week offseason workout sessions no earlier than April 16. But there's no language in the CBA that states there can't be any direct contact between coaches and players before April 16 as long as it isn't mandatory.

Backup quarterback Charlie Batch told WBGG-AM (970) over the weekend that he chatted with Haley last week, and receiver Antonio Brown posted a picture on Twitter of he and Haley in the Steelers' locker room.

Will Wallace get tagged?

Yesterday was the first day that teams were allowed to apply the franchise tag to one of their free agents.

Receiver Mike Wallace is a restricted free agent and could be a candidate for a tag if the Steelers can get far enough under the cap to allow the extra salary hit. The Steelers are $11 million over the salary cap and must be in compliance by March 13.

A franchise tag on Wallace would cost the Steelers an estimated $9 million for this year — or until the two sides could work out a long-term deal.

The salary-cap problems may prevent Wallace from being tagged. And he likely would have plenty of suitors if the Steelers choose not to tag him.

In past years, franchise tags rarely were used.

Previously, there were provisions to tag those restricted players with a high tender, and the compensation for a team losing a restricted free agent was a first- and third-round pick. Under the new CBA, the most a team can receive is a first-round pick.

Teams with late-round picks like San Francisco, Cincinnati and New England might be willing to trade a first-round pick for Wallace. But the Steelers would have the right to match any offer to Wallace.

The tagging process runs through March 5.

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