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Opponents think they have answer for Steelers' Wallace

By Len Pasquarelli, The Sports Xchange
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Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin spoke at length to the media this week about his hope that restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace will return to the team.

The deadline for signing players to restricted offer sheets is only three weeks removed and there was no evidence at the league meetings that anyone plans to make a move on the three-year veteran. But like many Steelers' officials who note that opposition defenses went to great lengths to "take away" Wallace from the offense in the second half of the season, Tomlin's logic included one flaw.

Said the coach from another AFC team: "If that's true, what do they think, we suddenly forgot the stuff we did to Wallace in the second half? Why wouldn't we do the same stuff again?"

Good point. In the first half of the season, Wallace averaged 5.37 receptions, 100.0 yards, and 18.6 yards per catch, with five touchdowns. Over the final eight games, his averages were 3.6 catches, 49.1 yards, and 13.6 yards per reception, with three touchdowns. Over the second half, Wallace had three games with fewer than 50 yards. All four of his 100-yard outings came in the first half of the season. There is little doubt that Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert want Wallace back, ideally on a long-term deal, and at worst under the terms of his restricted tender for one season.

But some club officials might balk if another team signs Wallace to an offer sheet and the Steelers have to choose whether or not to match it. Fellow "Young Money" wideout Antonio Brown, who some feel is a more rounded receiver than Wallace, will be entering his restricted year in 2012, and ultimately the team will have to deal with him as well.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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