MIKE WALLACE 2009 Steelers Rookie of the Year Joe Greene Great Performance Award
Scott Brown:For our second award, this is named in honor of Joe Greene, one of the all-time greats, one of the names that's associated with the Steelers. It recognizes the outstanding contributions of a rookie, this year it's Mike Wallace. Mike [Wallace] was a third-round pick last April and he's come in and made an impact at a position where historically, the Steelers have not gotten a lot out of their rookie wide receivers. First in the AFC with 692 receiving yards and of course everyone knows, he had a pretty big touchdown catch a couple of weeks ago against the Packers to win that game and keep the Steelers alive as far as the playoffs so Mike [Wallace], on behalf of the writers, congratulations on winning the Joe Greene Award.
Did you expect you'd play this much and produce this much coming in this year?
Coming into the mini-camp, we had a lot of guys going in but I just believed in myself hoping for an opportunity. I just thank the organization for giving me an opportunity to get in and the opportunity to play, believing I can make the plays out there. It's just a great honor to be out there.
Was there a point in the season where you stopped thinking and started just playing? When did it click for you?
I am still like that. I still have to think sometimes. Maybe after the Detroit game, I started to get into a flow and started to understand the offense we were running.
When did transitioning to playing on the big stage change for you?
I just have confidence in what I can do. I know what type of player I am. I have all of the confidence in the world in my abilities. If somebody is giving me the opportunity to get out there when we have all of those guys, I am not trying to give it back, I am taking advantage of it. That's just the main thing. I never have been the type of guy who wants to sit around and watch. I like to play in the game, be in a game and make an impact. That is the main thing, not wanting to sit on the side.
Have you seen other rookies have a tough time adjusting?
You talking this year?
Yes, this year.
Not really, I don't pay attention too much to it because we're playing the same time as everybody else but I think this year, a lot of rookies have made an impact this year. I think we have a pretty good class of guys and we're coming in and doing good for our teams. I don't focus too much, I just try to do what I've got to do to help my team.
Most rookies hit a wall at the end of the season, do you feel fatigued?
It is a long season, I know it's a long season but I still know the thing we have on our mind and where we want to get to. We still want to get to the playoffs so if you think like that, I'm not going to help my team, I'm not going to get to do what I do out there. I have a great group of guys out there Hines [Ward] and Santonio [Holmes] are always keeping me up and not letting me get down so I have a great group of guys around me that's going to lift me up anytime I get down. I'm not really that type of guy, I don't get down, I know what we have to do and that's what I'm focused on.
Did you sense at training camp that you caught Coach Tomlin's eye?
Yes, in training camp. Mini-camp it was kind of hard on me just because a lot of things were going on but once training camp came, I was kind of starting to understand things. I feel as though once we get on an even playing field where everybody's even, that's when I'm going to come up and the cream always rises to the top. I just had to keep faith and handle my business and not worry about everything else. I felt as if I did that, things would happen and that's what happened.
You said you're still learning, have we only seen a glimpse of what you're capable of?
I guess so. I know I have a long way to go, I'm just trying to learn from those guys like I said Hines [Ward] and Santonio [Holmes] this year because things happened kind of fast. I'm going to get a lot better in the offseason.
Is there one play or catch you'll remember from this year?
Yes, last week.
Are you talking about the Green Bay touchdown catch?
Did anyone get a good picture for you?
Yes, I've seen a couple of them, I've seen a couple pictures.
JAMES FARRIOR 2009 Chief Award
Scott Brown: James [Farrior] congratulations.
On behalf of the media, we're always appreciative of the time you give us, not only during good times but bad, you've been a standup guy this year. This is in honor of the founder Art Rooney. He was always very helpful and actually liked us. On behalf of the media, thank you very much for you time.
Thank you, I appreciate it.
*James Farrior: *I want to thank the media for giving me this very prestigious award in honor of our late owner Mr. Rooney, it's really special to me.
*Does it make it extra special because it's named after Mr. Rooney?
Definitely, no doubt about it, that gives it much more emphasis and that much more prestige.
How much more tougher was it for you this year during the five-game losing streak to take all of our questions?
It was tough. This year was probably the toughest year dealing as far as dealing with the media. We haven't been in a situation like this, losing five games around here since I have been here. It was something we weren't used to but I understand dealing with the media is a part of our business it's something we was obligated to do. I felt like I had to do it.
Not everybody feels that way, how do you feel about guys who don't talk after losses?
It's tough, I think it varies for individual, I think sometimes, guys just don't feel like talking to the press, talking to the media, they're upset but I've been around this league and I understand that you've got to take the good with the bad and this year we had more bad than we've normally have.
Did it help you breaking into New York dealing with the media?
I think so, dealing with that type of media every day for five years helped me out a lot and helped me learn how to deal with the media, how to talk to them, it prepared me for the future.
How have the previous Chief Award winners been acting in the locker room?
I think they're all excited, I know a lot of guys have got it in the past. I didn't really know what the award was at first until I got here. It's an award that some guys joke about, but I think it's a pretty neat thing.
As a captain, do you think it's an obligation to stand up during the tough times?
I feel that is one of the things my job entails as one of the captains. You have to be able to take the tough times and talk to the people when you don't really want to. With our situation the way it was this year, I definitely felt obligated to do it for the team, ownership and everybody in the locker room.
What makes you stand at your locker and answer questions?
I know that you guys have to do your job and I know it's a part of my job also. There's no need to beat around the bush, just get it over with and deal with it. That's the approach I've always taken.
*Are you trying to sit down and figure out your chances this weekend?
No, Mike Tomlin gave us a scenario, we know what it is, we pretty much have an idea of what it's going to take for us to get in and we're just going to play this game and see what happens.
Your fellow linebacker LaMarr Woodley says New England and Cincinnati may lay down in order to not see you in the playoffs, your thoughts?
Hopefully it will make them play better, we'll see.