2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Some veterans to play final game for Steelers

By CHRIS ADAMSKI - Associated Press
    2012-12-28 16:20

PITTSBURGH (AP) - For the first time since he was taken in the third round in the 2009 draft, Mike Wallace will miss a regular-season game for the Steelers.

It might well be the first of many games Pittsburgh plays without the speedster receiver going forward.

An injury in his left hip and hamstring area will prevent Wallace from playing in the Steelers' season finale Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. He will be an unrestricted free agent, leaving his status with the team for beyond this season in question.

Wallace isn't the only veteran who might have attended his final practice as a Steelers player Friday. On the heels of a non-winning season and with salary-cap issues upcoming, Pittsburgh (7-8) has some decisions to make on several longtime stalwarts who have been tenured contributors to championship teams.

Wallace, Casey Hampton, Rashard Mendenhall, Max Starks, James Harrison, Larry Foote and Charlie Batch have a combined 59 years of service for the Steelers, 12 starts in Super Bowls for the team and 11 championship rings.

There is reason to believe the game against Cleveland (5-10) will be the final one for many in that group as part of the organization.

``I don't know who's going to be out the door or who's going to be re-signed, but it's always a business first,'' Foote said. ``From a selfish standpoint on defense, we were No. 1 in the league - so bring us all back, keep us all. But I never know what's their plans and (general manager) Kevin Colbert can run a team better than I can.''

Starks, who will start his 96th game at tackle for the Steelers on Sunday, and Hampton, the team's nose tackle for the past 12 seasons, both hinted this week they could envision playing elsewhere.

The Stealers' most recent two second-round draft picks - and rookies of the year - are tackles. That doesn't bode well for Starks, who rebounded from injury each of the past two years to become a reliable starter for the Steelers by the time the season ended.

``I think the writing's on the wall, so to speak,'' Starks said. ``I had a great run - nine years here. I've gotten to be a part of three Super Bowl teams and got a chance to grasp two of those Lombardis, so it's an excellent career. If I have to move on, this will always be home for me.''

Hines Ward wept at his retirement press conference in March when he said he couldn't envision himself in another uniform. The gregarious Hampton chuckled this week at that notion - maintaining that he'd while he'd like to stay a Steeler, he'd play elsewhere if he had to.

A 35-year-old pending free agent, there's no guarantee the team will make a strong effort to keep Hampton.

Like Hampton and Starks, Foote said on Friday that he doesn't want to be a backup. But unlike Starks and Hampton, Foote can attest to the grass not always being greener.

Foote asked out of Pittsburgh following the 2009 Super Bowl victory because he knew Lawrence Timmons was primed to take his starting right inside linebacker's job. Foote signed with his hometown Detroit Lions, who were coming off an 0-16 season.

A year later, the Lions cut him - and Foote was given a three-year deal from the Steelers. He gradually re-earned a starting job back for this season.

Foote is coming off a solid season in which he led the team in tackles. Also, the player presumably drafted this past April to replace him, Sean Spence, missed the season due to a knee injury.

``Hopefully I'm back, but you've got to approach it that way,'' Foote said. ``Especially being long in the tooth as you say, all the older guys. That's just the nature of the game.''

At 34, Harrison is an even older member of the Steelers' linebackers corps. Harrison had back and knee injuries that slowed him early this season, and he has only five sacks.

A former NFL defensive player of the year, Harrison has a projected salary-cap hit of more than $10 million next season. It's unlikely the Steelers would keep him at that number.

``Right now, I'm looking forward to finishing out, playing this game against the Browns and after that's done I'll get things together as far as looking forward to next year,'' Harrison said.

Mendenhall was similarly evasive when asked about his future on Friday. The former first-round pick has only 163 yards rushing in five games this season because of injury, deactivation and suspension. A pending unrestricted free agent, he is seemingly destined to be on his way out.

At 38, Batch is the NFL's oldest non-kicker, and the Steelers could elect to add some youth to the quarterback position.

It won't be age that keeps the Steelers from bringing Wallace back. Failure to come to an agreement on a new contract might, though.

Wallace held out through the entirety of Steelers' training camp in Latrobe, Pa., this summer before signing a one-year tender as a restricted free agent. He finished the year with fewer catches and receiving yards than he had in each of the previous two seasons and with a 13.1 yards-per-reception that is well below his career average.

``This year obviously didn't go exactly how I wanted it to go, but I'm happy with the start to my career and I feel like I'm on the right path to do some great things,'' Wallace said.

But will they take place in black-and-gold? Wallace paused when asked if he'd consider re-signing with Pittsburgh.

``I don't know. We'll see,'' he said. ``But I've got big plans. No matter what the situation is I've definitely got big plans for myself and my family.''

Like several other Steelers after a rare non-winning season, those plans just might not include Pittsburgh.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Justin TuckOct 29 09:23p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin) and CB Carlos Rogers (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. [ More ]

Bobby WagnerOct 29 09:23p

Seattle Seahawks TE Zach Miller (ankle) and LB Bobby Wagner (toe) were each unable to practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and each is already ruled out for Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders.

Max UngerOct 29 09:23p

Seattle Seahawks DT Jordan Hill (ankle), SS Jeron Johnson (concussion), CB Byron Maxwell (calf) and LB Malcolm Smith (non-injury related) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. OG James Carpenter [ More ]

J. CunninghamOct 29 08:53p

The St. Louis Rams signed OT Steven Baker, WR Emory Blake, OT Travis Bond and TE Justice Cunningham to the practice squad Wednesday, Oct. 29.

Marcus LattimoreOct 29 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) returned to practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. He remains on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Brian QuickOct 29 08:43p

The St. Louis Rams placed WR Brian Quick (shoulder) on the reserve/injured list Wednesday, Oct. 29.

A.J. EddsOct 29 08:33p

Atlanta Falcons FS Sean Baker, Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves, Denver Broncos DE Greg Latta, New England Patriots OG Chris Barker, New York Jets LB A.J. Edds, Oakland Raiders [ More ]

Damian WilliamsOct 29 08:33p

The St. Louis Rams promoted OG Brandon Washington from the practice squad to the active roster Wednesday, Oct. 29, and they signed free-agent WR Damian Williams.

Patrick WillisOct 29 08:03p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), SS Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and LB Patrick Willis (toe) were listed as limited participants in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. CB Chris Culliver [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 29 08:03p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29.

Anthony CollinsOct 29 07:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Anthony Collins (foot) and LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) and DE Michael Johnson (hand) were listed as limited participants.

Lamarcus JoynerOct 29 07:53p

St. Louis Rams S Cody Davis (concussion), DT Aaron Donald (shoulder), LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (toe), DE William Hayes (foot), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), S Rodney McLeod (knee), OT Rodger [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 29 07:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring), DE Phil Taylor (knee) and OT Joe Thomas (non-injury related) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. DT Ahtyba Rubin (ankle) was [ More ]

A.J. GreenOct 29 07:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, Oct. 29. Green said he feels good, and he'll try to do more Thursday, Oct. [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 29 07:33p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), LB Brian Cushing (knee), CB Johnathan Joseph (knee), LB Brooks Reed (groin) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. [ More ]

Stepfan TaylorOct 29 07:33p

Arizona Cardinals RB Stepfan Taylor (calf) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and he has been ruled out for Week 9.

Patrick PetersonOct 29 07:33p

Arizona Cardinals FS Tony Jefferson (head) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. LB Kenny Demens (knee), TE Troy Niklas (ankle) and CB Patrick Peterson (concussion) were listed as limited [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 29 07:23p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), DE Carlos Dunlap (illness), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring), [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 29 07:03p

Denver Broncos LB Lamin Barrow (concussion), S Quinton Carter (hamstring) and OG Louis Vasquez (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. CB Omar Bolden (concussion) and LB Steven Johnson [ More ]

Mike PounceyOct 29 06:53p

Miami Dolphins OG Daryn Colledge (illness) and TE Dion Sims (toe) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. OG Nate Garner (neck), LB Chris McCain (foot), LB Koa Misi (ankle), [ More ]

Brian RobinsonOct 29 06:43p

Minnesota Vikings DE Brian Robinson (glute) and CB Jabari Price (hamstring) both did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. CB Josh Robinson (ankle), DT Sharrif Floyd (ankle, knee), [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 29 06:23p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and has been ruled out for the team's Week 9 game. CB Jamell Fleming [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 29 05:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is expected to start in the team's Week 9 game against the Minnesota Vikings, according to league sources.

Tracy PorterOct 29 05:53p

Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) and OT Trent Williams (knee) were limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. LB Ryan Kerrigan (wrist), LB Trent Murphy (knee), CB Tracy [ More ]

Jon BeasonOct 29 05:33p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot, toe) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Oct. 29.

Jonathan GoodwinOct 29 05:23p

New Orleans Saints LB David Hawthorne (hand) and FB Austin Johnson (knee) both did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and have been ruled out for the team's Week 9 [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 29 05:23p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and has been ruled out for Week 9.

Jimmy GrahamOct 29 05:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and is questionable for the team's Week 9 game.

Brandon BrownerOct 29 05:03p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. FS Nate Ebner (finger), DE Dominique Easley (knee, shoulder), OT Cameron Fleming (finger) and [ More ]

Demario DavisOct 29 05:03p

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) didn't practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. OG Oday Aboushi (shoulder), OG Willie Colon (knee), LB David Harris (shoulder), LG Trevor Reilly (knee) [ More ]

Terrell SuggsOct 29 04:53p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (shin), CB Jimmy Smith (foot), LB Terrell Suggs (neck), CB Lardarius Webb (non-injury) and OG Marshal Yanda (knee) all did [ More ]

Justin ForsettOct 29 04:53p

Baltimore Ravens RB Justin Forsett (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. Forsett is dealing with an ankle injury.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group