From The Notebook ...

This is another in a series of long-winded notes columns from our publisher:

From the notebook of a sportswriter who's starting to worry about Mike Wallace:

* Hey, it's April 13 and I just finished my taxes. What else have I got to worry about?

* Someone on Facebook said there are 3 Friday-the-13ths this year and they're all 13 weeks apart. I was going to look it up, but I remembered that people on Facebook are always right.

* Like with those Mike Wallace trade rumors.

* No, that's not what's worrying me about Mike. It's that Mike used to be such a fun-loving kid. I've used the word effervescent at one time or another in this space. He was really a breath of fresh air before Lardarius Webb ripped him. And then Mike ripped back. And then Mike slumped and read some bad reviews, and then he ripped back again. And then someone in San Francisco wrote that Mike is asking for Larry Fitz money. And then Mike really ripped back.

* Yeah, the last one went over the top. Wallace took to twitter like he was an injured center and ripped into his fans.

* So business is taking a bite out of The Kid's innocence. You hate to see that happen but in the big-money world of pro football I guess it's inevitable.

* Then again, Hines Ward never ever let things get ugly.

* After his one and brief holdout, he wouldn't stop apologizing.

* Will they trade Wallace? One columnist in town seems to think so. He started the recent wave of Wallace speculation. But I can't see it. He'll probably skip the voluntary workouts and we won't know more for a month or so.

* But if Wallace doesn't sign his RFA tender for $2.7 million by June 15, the Steelers can choose to pay him about $2.1 million less.

* The paper, by the way, could not force Wallace to report to training camp. In fact, it would give him a fallback position.

* Sign the paper, Mike.

* From the Steelers' perspective, Ben Roethlisberger doesn't throw the best deep ball in the league. So, really, Wallace doesn't suit Roethlisberger the way Plaxico Burress did. Ben loves those big receivers best.

* Had to chuckle at the stories suggesting the Steelers made some sort of triumphant entry into free agency this week. It was merely perfunctory business.

* The signings of TE Leonard Pope and OG Trai Essex were one-year contracts for minimum salaries. The signing of WR Jerricho Cotchery was for two years with a small bonus that will put his cap charge at approximately $1.45 million this year.

* These were small, necessary and expected deals that filled gaping holes on the roster, so don't call them the Washington Redskins just yet.

* If you're writing a story around Doug Legursky and David Johnson signing their tenders, you are a genius who found a way to get out of work early and go golfing.

* Sometimes the style and position of a visiting college prospect is as informational as the name. Take recent visitors LaMichael James and Isaiah Pead. They're speed backs who figure to be drafted in the third round. Like Jamaal Charles in Kansas City.

* Charles was a third-round draft pick in 2008. He eventually teamed with a tough inside runner, Thomas Jones, to make coach Todd Haley's Chiefs the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL in 2010.

* So in the short term, look for a speedy running back in the third round, and in the long run look for about 3,000 combined yards from scrimmage out of the backfield.

* Charles and Jones combined for 2,953 yards from scrimmage in 2010 when Charles was last healthy.

* For as talented as Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman are, their combined 1,639 yards from scrimmage last season was way too puny.

* Right, the game's changing and the run game means little anymore. And, yes, the Chiefs won their division in 2010 but lost in the first round of the playoffs.

* But the Chiefs didn't have Roethlisberger playing quarterback!

* It's not just scheme. There's still the shaky offensive line. Can a first-round pick make a difference there?

* Well, Cordy Glenn has the size and played against the caliber of competition that would make him an immediate starter at right tackle, and possibly left tackle. That would allow Willie Colon to move inside, and, voila, there's your line.

* I don't think the Steelers could do that with any other first-round tackle not named Matt Kalil.

* But with Glenn, what you see is what you're going to get for the rest of his career. Serviceable. Adequate. Versatile. Boring.

* As a guy who wouldn't have to suffer the consequences of a pick gone awry, I want something more exciting. Even a Division II guard like Amini Silatolu is more exciting than Cordy Glenn.

* Stories about signed tenders are more exciting than Cordy Glenn.


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