Monday, April 2, 2012
Wake-up: Brown sees Wallace with Steelers
By Jamison Hensley
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
Wide receiver Antonio Brown sounded confident that restricted free agent Mike Wallace will be with the Steelers in 2012.
"I definitely expect it," he told the NFL Network on Friday. "I definitely look forward to him providing me help from the other side, rolling coverages -- he's a great teammate of mine."
Asked if he was absolutely sure, Brown said, "No doubt in my mind, he's coming back."
Teams have until April 20 to sign restricted free agents to an offer sheet. There was a report last month that Wallace scared off interested teams by seeking more money than Larry Fitzgerald ($120 million over eight years). The Steelers reaffirmed late last month that they want to sign Wallace to a long-term deal.
Hensley's slant: The likelihood of Wallace staying with the Steelers this season is strong. The only team I can foresee making a play for Wallace is the Denver Broncos. The bigger question is whether Wallace will be playing for the Steelers in 2013, when he's an unrestricted free agent.
BENGALS: Saints coach Sean Payton helped raise $42,000 at a charity fundraiser hosted by Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, according to the Bengals' official website. Payton donated his private suite for one Saints game that included sideline passes and autographed items. It raised the second-highest amount at the live auction. "He told me right before he went up to make his speech: I guess there are 42,000 reasons why I invited him," Whitworth said. Hensley's slant: Payton has built a reputation for being arrogant during his time as Saints coach. But you have to give him credit for honoring his commitment to speak at Whitworth's charity even though he faces a yearlong suspension from the NFL.
BROWNS: Add ESPN's Todd McShay to the list of draft analysts who believe Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill can be a franchise quarterback and that the Browns should draft him at No. 4. "I don't think the difference between Robert Griffin III and Tannehill is all that big, I really don't," McShay said in a conference call Friday, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I'd have a very difficult time passing on him at that No. 4 pick. I just think he has everything you look for in a future franchise quarterback if you develop him properly and you're willing to be patient." Hensley's slant: I could look foolish if Tannehill becomes a franchise quarterback, but I would select two other players at No. 4 before him. Alabama running back Trent Richardson and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne are better -- and safer -- choices at that spot for the Browns.
RAVENS: Still motivated by last year's fall in the draft, running back Anthony Allen is eyeing the backup role for the Ravens. "I was drafted in the seventh round and I still have that chip on my shoulder," Allen told the Baltimore Sun. "I barely played in an NFL game besides special teams, so it’s definitely motivation for me. It’s a blessing that the coaches trust me, the owner trusts me. It just shows that if you continue to put in the hard work, your opportunity will come and you’ll get a chance to shine." Hensley's slant: The Ravens have usually gone with more experienced backups whether it's been Ricky Williams, Willis McGahee or Mike Anderson. Going with Allen would be the team's biggest gamble at running back since 2002, when they went with rookie sixth-round pick Chester Taylor as the primary backup. That certainly worked out for Baltimore.