(Photo by NJ.com)
In his first four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, receiver Mike Wallace averaged 1010 yards and 17.2 yards per catch, a true symbol that defines his speed instead of his reported 4.33 40-yard dash. After coming off a slightly disappointing but productive 862-yard fifteen-game season in 2012, Wallace cashed in free agency with the Miami Dolphins before heading into a territory of uncertainty.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was a younger promising quarterback that came off a 12:13 touchdown-to-interception ratio rookie year where the Dolphins finished 7-9. Except, with an element of his game left uncorrected, Wallace was set to struggle.
Tannehill averaged just 6.8 yards per attempt and completed no passes over 40 yards in 2013. The two had some rocky times complemented with some highlights. But with Tannehill set to average the same yards per attempt for the next two years and conflicts occurring with then head coach Joe Philbin, the veteran receiver was finished in South Florida. He along with a seventh-round draft pick was traded to the Minnesota Vikings for a fifth-round pick. However, when you would think that the Vikings would learn history before repeating it, a carbon copy of Wallace’s Dolphins career and more bleakness took place in the Twin Cities.
Similar to Tannehill, Teddy Bridgewater was coming off a rookie season where the Vikings finished 7-9 and had a 14:12 touchdown-to-interception ratio, but was flawed with downfield throws. He averaged just 7.3 yards per attempt and only completed one of ten passes for over 40 yards in 2014. With Wallace being used to Ben Roethlisberger completing 33.3 percent of the same passes in their last year together, Wallace’s days in Pittsburgh look more like a distant memory.
From 2013 to 2015, he averaged just 12.7 yards per catch and 755 yards per season (896 with the Dolphins). His state of football hell was so bleak at one point in Minnesota, he not only failed to achieve 500 yards receiving (473 in 2015) but was only involved in the offense 7.5 percent of the time.
Once Blair Walsh ended the Vikings season with a 27-yard field goal miss, Wallace’s career in Minnesota concluded too. He was left with little to no offers until the Baltimore Ravens came calling. Luckily for him, he was given a contract with a $3.5 million salary in 2016, and even luckier to have a union with a quarterback that could suit his strengths.
Known for having a big arm since his days at the University of Delaware, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has helped many of the league’s fastest pass catchers become more visible in real time. Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, and even tight end Todd Heap have caught between 14 and 18 yards per catch, and with Flacco needing a deep threat after Breshad Perriman’s health was left in question, Wallace has not only benefited but improved Flacco’s vertical passing game.
Throughout his career, Flacco has never completed more than 31.3 percent of his passes for over 40 yards. With Wallace currently, he completing an unbelievable 42.9 percent of such passes and it helps that Wallace is tied for the second-most plays of at least 40 yards in the NFL, five.
With him being 16 yards away from reaching his first 1000-yard season in five years, it will be a special moment for someone whose potential was likely ruled out unfairly. But it will not be as special as it will be for a player that could be playing his final NFL game after being doubted his whole life and might be bound for the Hall of Fame, Wallace’s running mate Steve Smith.
Gino Marchetti Dead at 92
NFL Hall of Famer Gino Marchetti, who also served in World War II, has passed away at the age of 92.
Marchetti, who played mostly as a defensive end during his career, was nominated to 11 Pro Bowls, was a 9-time First Team All-Pro, and was also named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team.
Marchetti’s #89 jersey was retired by the Indianapolis Colts and he is also a member of the Baltimore Ravens’ Ring of Honor.
Marchetti was selected in the 2nd round of the 1952 NFL Draft by the New York Yanks, which later became the Baltimore Colts.
Marchetti was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1952 NFL Draft by the New York Yanks, who later became the Baltimore Colts.
Marchetti was a United States Army soldier who fought in the Battle of the Bulge as a machine gunner during World War II.
Ravens’ Alex Collins Arrested
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins was arrested early on Friday morning following a car crash about a mile from the Ravens’ team facility, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.
Per the report: Officers responded to a report of a car that had crashed into a tree on the 10000 block of Dolfield Road at about 6:48 a.m. Friday morning, Baltimore County police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach said.
Collins, 24, was arrested, however charges were not made public at the time of this writing.
Ravens vice president of public relations Chad Steele told The Baltimore Sun that the team has spoken with law enforcement and is aware of the situation involving Collins.
Collins is coming off a down year with Baltimore after a breakout campaign in 2017. Collins managed only 411 yards rushing in 2018 and was placed on injured reserve back in December, ending his season early.
Ray Rice Says He Is Done With Football
Former NFL running back Ray Rice, who had been working to try and get a second chance in the NFL over the past couple of years, is no longer pursuing a comeback.
“I’ll be the first one to say it; I don’t have to retire to tell you I’m done with football” Rice said, during an interview on CBS This Morning.
“The pressure I was under of being a star, that was the person I hated the most.”
Rice was suspended indefinitely back in 2014 when a video surfaces showing Rice punching his then-fiancee, now wife, Janay Rice while the two were alone in an elevator.
Rice was never picked up by another team following the conclusion of his suspension, and his release from the Baltimore Ravens.
Rice said that he sees “similarities” between his situation and the one of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who was recently cut loose by the team when a video surfaced showing him pushing and kicking a woman in a hallway.
“Somewhere down the line everybody who’s sayin’, ‘Does he deserve a second chance for football?’ And this that and the other— I actually got my second chance” Rice said of Hunt, who cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
“During my darkest moments, and I used to ask myself, ‘How could she even be—want to support me?’ … That’s understandable. But I think what’s misunderstood about us is that the friends we were before the incident. That’s why, like I said, when I look at Kareem Hunt, I wanna know what his life was like. I want to know what happened in life. I know Kareem has apologized, and has expressed remorse for survivors of domestic violence.”
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