PITTSBURGH STEELERS 2009 THIRD-ROUND DRAFT PICK MIKE WALLACE WIDE RECEIVER 84th Overall Conference Call
Wide Receiver, University of Mississippi
3rd Round – 84th Overall
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Did I see somewhere that you expected the Bears to draft you in the first round?
Actually, it was the second round, but, you know, I know you hear a lot of things and that was the discussion. I got a call where they said they were going to pick me with their next pick, but I'm happy to be a Steeler. I'm happy that the Steelers came first.
Why is that, Mike?
Because [they have] a great coach [and a] great organization. They are the most winning team in [the] National Football [League]. I'm just happy to be a part of that. I'm looking forward to coming in and playing my role and learning from two of the greatest receivers in the game.
What did they tell you that role might be?
Just to come in and play a player and stretch the field; get behind the defensive player and modify the game. And I plan to do that every time Coach Tomlin and the rest of the coaches call my number.
Their wide outs do some blocking here. How ready are you for that?
I'm so ready, I'm just looking forward to – it's a "want-to" [attitude] in blocking. It doesn't really take a skill. It just takes effort, really, to block. I'm just looking forward to going in and learning from some of the greatest. Hines Ward [is] probably the greatest blocking receiver in the National Football League. That's great. I just look forward to going in and learning from him.
They've been looking for a kick returner here [for a long time]. How good are you at that?
I feel that I can, with the players that they have on this team and my ability to hit the hole and separate, do a lot of good things on kickoff returns. I'm looking forward to being the starting kickoff returner – and punt returner as well. Whatever the coach wants me to do, I'm going to do it.
What do you think is going to be the biggest adjustment you are going to have to make from college to the NFL?
Living on my own. I'll be kind of far from home, but this is just being in the real world, really; just becoming a man [and] living on my own. So that's going to be the biggest transition off the field. But, it's a job. At first it was fun, trying to get there. But now, it's the National Football [League] and it's going to take a lot more hard work. So I just plan on working hard.
Bruce Arians just came in and talked to us and he mentioned your tough background. Can you talk to us about that?
I have three sisters, two brothers. One of them got killed my sophomore year in college. My other brother was in jail for, like, five years. But we never really had too much coming up. I'm just trying to do the best I can with the cards I was dealt.
What happened to your sister?
She was out there when one of my good friends got killed not too long ago, maybe two or three weeks ago. They were shooting at my sister and one of my friends who got killed. Thank God that my sister wasn't hurt. That's just one of the assets of making it to the National Football League. I'll be able to at least try to get my family [out] of here – from [out] of this situation.
You are from New Orleans. Were you touched by Katrina?
Yes, sir. Our roof caved in, but all we had to do was get new furniture … They had a lot more people that were hurt worse than us. We were real happy that we at least had the foundation and stuff for the house. So we were hit, but there were a lot people that were a lot worse than us.
Where did you grow up in New Orleans?
On the West Bank.
Do you know Ike Taylor at all?
I know who his is. I followed him in college and stuff like that, but I never met him before. But, we're teammates now and I plan on getting to know him good.
*Why did you leave Oregon State?
Because my head coach in high school got the running backs job at Ole Miss. So I just followed my coach.