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Joe Flacco Was Major Reason Why Mike Wallace Chose Ravens


The Ravens had a lot of people selling wide receiver Mike Wallace on signing before he left Baltimore Tuesday afternoon.

Head Coach John Harbaugh chased him down the hallway and wouldn't let him leave the building by his scheduled time at 2:30 p.m. Wallace said he had three or four teams interested in his services.

But when explaining why he chose the Ravens to the assembled media after signing his two-year deal, one name came off Wallace's lips first.

Joe Flacco.

"That was the main situation for me – the quarterbacks," Wallace said.

"Ultimately, I wanted to get back to what I do, and that's stretching the field and making some plays. I just wanted to be with a good quarterback, and [we have] a Super Bowl-winning quarterback right here, so you can't beat that. I feel like we go hand-in-hand; the things he does well, I think I do well. I just felt like this was the best fit for me."

Wallace is a speed merchant on the outside, known for stretching the field with a litany of big plays on his resume. That works out quite well when paired with Flacco's big arm.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger certainly isn't afraid to air it out either. But Wallace hasn't had that kind of signal caller the past three seasons.

When he left Pittsburgh for a reported mega five-year, $60 million deal in Miami, he was paired with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Then he was traded to Minnesota and matched up with Teddy Bridgewater, who doesn't take many deep shots.

As a result, Wallace's numbers have declined since leaving Pittsburgh. He had his worst year last season with 39 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns – all career lows.

"I was like, I need a good quarterback. I need a quarterback who I know is proven and can get things done," Wallace said.

"Flacco, he's always been that guy. I always loved his deep ball – always. When I was in Pittsburgh watching Torrey catch them, I'd be like, 'This guy gets eight of them in a row. I need me some of that.'"

Harbaugh said Wallace "changes the face of our offense dramatically." The Ravens lacked a proven speed threat last season after Smith left for San Francisco in free agency and first-round pick Breshad Perriman suffered a knee injury at the start of training camp.

Now, with Perriman expected to return and Wallace in the fold, the Ravens will surely be taking more deep shots to put pressure on opposing defenses. As Harbaugh said, defenses are going to have to pick their poison, and it's "going to cause people problems."

It's reminiscent of when teams had to choose whether they were going to match up against Smith or Jacoby Jones in one-on-one coverage. And that prospect has Wallace pumped.

Wallace met with Flacco briefly in the weight room Tuesday as he went on a tour around the building. Flacco was lifting weights as part of his rehab, which impressed Wallace.

"This is going to be fun, man," he said. "It's going to be a great opportunity to revive [myself] and get back to where I want to be at and the type of player I know I can be. I feel like I can maximize my potential here."

Or course, Wallace listed more reasons for signing with the Ravens other than just Flacco.

Baltimore showed a lot of interest in him from the very start of free agency. Harbaugh, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and even safety Eric Weddle, who the Ravens signed on Monday, all called Wallace to get him on board.

Plus, Wallace had a good idea of the kind of franchise he would be joining considering all the dogfights against Baltimore during his Pittsburgh days. But, as is often said in the rivalry when tempers are cool, there's always a mutual respect between the two strong franchises.

"It's a really stable, really well-rounded organization," Wallace said. "I kind of knew that before just from the outside and friends that I already had here."

Wallace landed in Baltimore Monday night and went out to dinner with Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram, where the two hit it off. He came to the Under Armour Performance Center Tuesday morning to chat and meet more people. Wallace said it "felt right from the moment I walked in."

Wallace's time in the AFC North also gave him an appreciation for the kind of team the Ravens are at its* *core. He also had that reinforced through his conversations with Smith Sr.

"I think this was the best choice and I think it just fit me," he said. "Just the grimy part of it, the way the team is, guys that are going to go out and fight together and just don't care; you just want to win by any means necessary."

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