Wallace explains how he mistook Starks' butt for a football

Cody Wallace can explain why his hand ended up where it did. (CBS)

There's an old saying about not wanting to know what really goes on at the bottom of the pile. On Sunday, we got a glimpse behind the curtain when cameras caught Steelers center Cody Wallace doing ... this to Dolphins defensive lineman Randy Starks.

Obviously, there's no explanation beyond, "Well, this is what happens at the bottom of a pile. Told you you didn't want to know."

Except Wallace actually made the case Wednesday that it all was a big misunderstanding.

“I was trying to get under the pile and get a hand on the football,’’ he said several times, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get low enough. As soon as I realized what was happening, I definitely stopped. It’s unfortunate it looks that way and came out that way. ...

“I thought I was going to be able to get under there and I wasn’t able to and I wasn’t able to get a hand on the football," said Wallace, adding that he figured out Starks' butt wasn't a football “when he kind of started kicking around, I realized I wasn’t going to make it there.”

Starks, meanwhile, has been the, ahem, butt of jokes at his teammates' expense.

"They are getting on me -- 'check the prostate' and stuff like that," he said via the Associated Press. "I'm hearing it."

Starks says he didn't retaliate because he didn't know who the perpetrator was.

"I saw two people and didn't know which one it was," he said. "It's tough not to react. If I had done something, I would have gotten thrown [out]. I'm glad I didn't know who it was, because it would have gotten ugly out there."

Frankly, that seems impossible.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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