Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wallace expects plenty of boos in Pittsburgh visit


The Miami Dolphins gave wide receiver Mike Wallace a giant five-year, $60 million contract based on the work he did in four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

His production helped the Steelers get to the Super Bowl one year and himself to the Pro Bowl another year, but Wallace doesn't expect his former home fans to be too appreciative when he returns to Pittsburgh as an opponent this Sunday.

"I already know how my welcome is going to be, it’s not going to be too pretty," Wallace said this week, via the team's website. "I’m looking forward to it though. It’s exciting.”

After averaging eight touchdowns and over 1,000 yards per year in his time in a Steeler uniform, does he expect the fans that cheered all of those big plays to boo him now?

"Definitely, yeah,” Wallace said, with a smile.

Wallace established himself as one of the league's premier deep threats catching passes from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He enjoyed tremendous success in Pittsburgh, and leading up to this game has conveyed nothing but respect and admiration for his former franchise.

It was talked about at one point but when asked, he rejected the notion that he was upset about not receiving an extension with the Steelers, calling it "a lie".

"[I] never said that, but it is what it is, I’m on a new team," he said. Wallace was allowed to leave the Steelers for free agency, where he became the top target of the receiver-needy Dolphins.

Of late, the handsomely-paid fifth-year wideout has been producing to the level of his pay grade, scoring a touchdown and gaining at least 80 yards in each of the Dolphins' past two games. Wallace has acknowledged growing pains in his first season in Miami, but as his numbers suggest, he's starting to get back into stride.

"Just feeling more comfortable every week with the offense and you know it’s time," he said. "It’s time to make a playoff run, got to make plays now. We don’t have time to wait."

The former third round pick admitted that the return to Pittsburgh will be a "bit emotional," but he reiterated that his sole focus is on helping his current team move forward in its postseason push.

"That’s all that matters," Wallace said of the game's playoff implications. "I don’t want to get caught up into too much hype going into a personal battle with these guys because it’s not really about that.

"It’s about moving forward and these guys stand in the way of our playoff hopes. They’re another team in the way that has to go down."

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