The Ravens brought an old foe to Baltimore this season by signing wide receiver Mike Wallace, who Ravens fans remember from his time with the Steelers.
Wallace had plenty of big games against the Ravens during his career with Pittsburgh, but here are five things you may not know about the new receiver:
1) Wallace was displaced by Hurricane Katrina
Wallace is a New Orleans native whose family was affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Wallace was a freshman at Ole Miss when the storm hit, and he was unable to talk to his family for about a week during all of the chaos. His family then went to live in Dallas for about seven months after the storm while their house was repaired and the neighborhood restored. "I just remember seeing all those people and watching the aftermath of Katrina on television knowing there were people that were dying," Wallace said. "It was nothing I could do to help. I was in college and I couldn't do anything. I just felt kind of helpless. So just watching it was devastating."
2) He's good friends with Michael Oher
Wallace went to Ole Miss at the same time as former Ravens first-round pick Michael Oher, and the two still remain good friends today. When Wallace was going through the free-agency process this offseason, he actually talked with Oher to get a sense of what the Ravens are like as an organization. "Me and 'Big O,' we've been friends ever since we stepped on campus," Wallace said. "Sometimes I used to stay by his house in Memphis. We've been real good friends our whole time there at Ole Miss. That was one of my closest teammates when I was there." Wallace also went to high school and college with Ravens safety Kendrick Lewis, and the two of them also remain friends.
3) His first name isn't Mike
Wallace's first name is actually Burnell. He went by Burnell in high school before deciding to go by his middle name, Michael.
4) Harbaugh wouldn't let him leave on his free-agent visit without agreeing to a contract
When the Vikings released Wallace this offseason, he had several suitors. But once he got to Baltimore, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh had no intentions of letting him leave the Under Armour Performance Center without a contract. Wallace said after signing that he had a flight scheduled to depart Baltimore around 2 p.m. the day he visited, but Harbaugh came racing to the door to find out what they needed to do to make him a Raven. The recruiting pitch worked, and Wallace said Harbaugh "did a great job letting me know how I would fit into the program, telling me about the program and he seemed fired up. So I'm with it."
5) He was the second-fastest player in the 2009 NFL Draft
Wallace is known as a speedster, and it's impressive exactly how fast he is. His 40-yard dash time of 4.28 seconds was the second-fastest time at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine, behind only Darius Heyward-Bey. Wallace admits that he may have lost a "half step" going into his eighth season because he's "probably run about 10,000 post-routes and go-routes since when I first came into the league," Wallace said. "But I can still get it done."