Head coach John Harbaugh opening statement:
"It is just a great day. It has been, really, a whirlwind couple days. [We] started talking to Mike [Wallace last week]. Last week is when we started talking, and I think it had been going on even before that, a little bit I'm sure. I don't really know the whole timeline, but then today has just been crazy. So, Mike had a chance to come in and meet with [wide receivers coach] Bobby [Engram] last night for dinner and spend time with Bobby, then got in here early [for] physicals and all that sort of thing. And then, really, it was turned over while he was finding out about the Ravens and how he fit in and meeting all the people here, and I would say we have a pretty good building for recruiting. Everybody did a great job. But just congratulations to [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] and [agent] Bus Cook and [senior vice president of football operations] Pat Moriarty and [assistant general manager] Eric DeCosta and all the guys that were involved in the negotiations directly to make it work, because it was a tough negotiation, and players like this, they command a lot of respect. It's a really good contract, and it makes us a better football team. As far as Mike goes, from a coaching perspective, this is a really good football player. This is the guy that changes the face of our offense dramatically. He adds an element that is just very important in the National Football League. He's a complete receiver. He has speed. He's a big-play-threat guy; he has been throughout his career. He's a player that can run all the routes. He's a blocker, and he's experienced; he has done it before. We've seen it up close and personal when he was playing for the Steelers and for the Dolphins. So, it's just an opportunity also for him to get with Joe [Flacco] and match their talents in a way that is going to be really special. We're really excited about it, and I can't wait to get him here and start working on football. We started on it a little bit today. We talked a little football today. So, I'll turn it over to Mike. You've got it."
WR Mike Wallace opening statement:
"I'm just happy to be here, happy to get the process over. [The Ravens have] great coaches, a great building, just a great environment. It felt right from the moment I walked in the building, meeting coach [Harbaugh]. And coach Engram – he's just a really good guy. He sold me on it last night just talking about the program, the guys here, and Steve [Smith Sr.] did a great job starting last week, calling me up, keeping tabs on me. Eric [Weddle] did the same thing. So, it was different, because last time I knew where I was going pretty much after I left Pittsburgh, and this time, it was like, 'Where would I have the best fit? Where would I be able to play?' And ultimately, I feel like this is the best spot for me."
Mike, when it comes to playing for Pittsburgh, you had a certain perspective on Baltimore. Is there anything new you learned about this organization going through this process? (Joe Platania)
*(WALLACE) *"Just that it's great. It's a really stable, really well-rounded organization. I kind of knew that, though, before just from the outside and friends that I already had here. So, [I did] not [learn] too much more. I just learned about the coaches and the people that are in the building, and like I said, it felt right from the moment I walked in. [I am] just happy to be here."
From your days with the Steelers, you had some pretty fierce games with the Ravens. Does it feel weird putting that [shirt on]? (Jamison Hensley)
*(WALLACE) *"That's what I was just telling coach [Harbaugh] – it feels weird being on the other side, but I'm all for it. I've just got to switch my whole mentality now. I used to hate purple. Now I love purple. *(laughter) *So, I'm with it."
*(HARBAUGH) *"We were just joking [that] they say purple is the new black, right? *(laughter) *We have purple *and *black."
*(WALLACE) *"I like them both."
Mike, you mentioned Eric – I assume you meant S Eric Weddle – and Steve Smith Sr. recruiting you. Eric, one of the things he has said to reporters out in San Diego was the Ravens made it clear he's a guy they really want. (Jeff Zrebiec)
*(WALLACE) *"Yes, same here." *(Reporter: "Was that the same?") *"Same thing." *(Reporter: "What was that like?") *"It was great just to know that, coming from a team where I wasn't really able to do the things that I wanted. On Day One, coach Harbaugh called me; Steve [Smith Sr.] called me; [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] called me. Everybody [called] just to let me know that they really wanted me here, and that was enough for me, honestly, just to come up and see. I already knew, kind of, what I needed to know from the outside of the organization. Like I was telling coach [Engram] last night, being in Pittsburgh, it was something about this organization, even from the outside looking in. I know it's nice; I know it's a team where you can play it out. And that's just it. It's a team where you have a quarterback who can really sling the ball, and that's what I need to get back to, being able to have opportunities. I think this one gives me the best opportunity to make the most of the rest of my years in the NFL."
What you been a part of that before, where you have the head coach and the general manager and key players like WR Steve Smith Sr. recruiting you to try to come join their team? (Garrett Downing)
*(WALLACE) *"Like I said, this is my first time really being a free agent. I was a free agent last time, but I wasn't really free. I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew where I was going. So, it really wasn't a recruiting process. This time, it was like I was really free, so I was able to just sit back and see exactly where I wanted to go. Ultimately, this is the spot for me."
Did you always have an appreciation of QB Joe Flacco, or coming here, did you gain more of that? (Ryan Mink)
*(WALLACE) *"Always. When this process started, I knew I wasn't going back to Minnesota. I was like, 'I need a good quarterback. I need a quarterback who I know is proven, who can get things done, and [Joe] Flacco, he's always been that guy. I always loved his deep ball, always, ever since, like I said, I was in Pittsburgh watching Torrey [Smith] catching them. [I was] like, 'Man, this guy gets like eight of them in a row!' *(laughter) *I need me some of that. And Ben [Roethlisberger] was my guy, but I was still like, 'Man, this dude is getting a lot more opportunities than me, Ben. I've got to talk to you about that.' So, this is going to be fun. It's going to be a great opportunity just to revive 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."
Did you talk to QB Joe Flacco at all today? (Ryan Mink)
*(WALLACE) *"Yes, I saw him. He was getting stronger when I saw him. He was lifting some weights. So, that's a good sign. I don't usually see too many quarterbacks lifting weights like that in the offseason. So, that's a good sign."
John, a lot was made last year about WR Breshad Perriman's injury and the passing game not having enough of a vertical threat. How good do you feel now about having Mike, a veteran who has done it, and also Breshad coming back, that combination as far as stretching the field? (Luke Jones)
*(HARBAUGH) *"I feel very good about it. That's really the idea here. You have two guys that can take it down field, the speed part of it, and also guys that can go make plays on the ball. Breshad [Perriman] is a young guy. I think everybody's waiting to see that out of him, and he's doing a great job. Mike [Wallace] is a guy that has done it before. He has been there many times before, and also, there's an element of what Mike brings to the table in terms of helping Breshad and kind of working with him along with Steve [Smith Sr.] and bringing him along. Then, you put Steve Smith out there, and I talked to Steve yesterday … He's working really hard to get back into form. So, it's going to cause people some problems. You have some considerations back there on defense. If you're going to put your defense over one guy or another guy and leave some pretty talented guys open on the other side, that's going to create some problems for defenses."
Mike, I'd imagine last season may not have went the way you liked, but the Vikings' officials were very complimentary of how you handled yourself, how you were using the JUGS machine all the time and setting an example. How has your experience the last couple years since you left Pittsburgh kind of changed you, how you are as a player? (Jeff Zrebiec)
*(WALLACE) *"Just up and down, I think – not only as a player, just really as a man – understanding the business of the NFL and exactly how it works. I think I've always had a great work ethic. You can ask any one of my coaches that I've ever played for. I don't think that's ever been a problem, but even when you struggle, you've got to continue to do the things that got you here. I would get one target in a game, but I'm still going to catch 200 balls on the JUGS [machine] every day, because I know you still have to be ready for that moment when it does come. And like I said, I've always had a great work ethic. I've been around great players, starting from the beginning, and even though my time in Miami and Minnesota didn't go the way I wanted, I was still around some awesome people, some great players, great coaches to help me develop and be a better player and a better man. So, it's been up and down, but I think I still stayed focused on the task at hand and never [forgot] what got me here, and that's working. I'm going to always do that."
Do you consider it motivation to prove that last year may have not have been a good fit for you, but you're still the same guy? (Jeff Zrebiec)
*(WALLACE) *"Yes. We just have a couple months to wait and see. I'll show everybody. I've been taking a lot of heat for about three years in a row. So, we'll see about that, though. I promise, I'll get the last laugh, and we'll see. Hopefully we can get where we want to get, and that's to the championship."
What was it like to be recruited by a potential Hall of Famer in Steve Smith Sr.? I would imagine he was pretty unrelenting in his pursuit? (Jeff Zrebiec)
*(WALLACE) *"One thing about it is I knew when he called that he was going to shoot it straight and tell me exactly what it was. He wasn't going to tell me what I wanted to hear; he was going to tell me exactly what I asked him. It was great – like you said, future Hall of Famer – a guy who I have the most respect for, a guy who I know is going to have my back if we go in and fight 80 people. I know me and him by ourselves, we'll fight all 80 together. That's the type of guy that he is, and that's the type of guys I need on my team. They have my back, I have their back. His work speaks for itself, but just to have him call me and know that he wanted me to be a part of the team was great. It just adds to it."
John, when [the Ravens' leaders were] down in Florida [at owner Steve Bisciotti's home] making out your game plan of what could go forward, is this – with Ben [Watson], Eric Weddle and Mike Wallace – is this kind of what everybody envisioned in terms of at least how you wanted to get started in free agency? (Jamison Hensley)
(HARBAUGH) *"It's a good question. Structurally, yes. You never know exactly the names that are going to be available or how it's going to shake out. It's like probably any other job; they say you make 50 sales calls to have a chance at one sale. I read that in business school way back when. *(laughter) It seems the same way with free agency or the draft. You look at 500 players and you draft seven. You look at all the different scenarios that could come up in free agency and cap casualties and all of those kinds of things, and you look at all of those players on tape and try to figure out how they're going to fit, and then you have to figure the finances as far as the cap. A lot of that was up in the air when we were in Florida, but the basic structure of improving our football team has come together in one of the ways that we visualized. There were different options, and I don't know that we're done yet, so we'll just kind of see how it plays out. This one really happened fast. We came in here, and I don't think you were planning on a press conference, for sure."
(WALLACE) *"No, coach. I was trying to go home. He told me I had to do this." *(laughter)
*(HARBAUGH) *"He wanted to go home. He wanted to get his clothes. He wanted to come in here and do it right. So, I apologize that he didn't have a chance to really dress up and do it right, because I wanted to do it, man! That was me. [I said], 'Let's get this thing signed and let's go down there and let's get going and get out in front of people and let them know you're here.' I appreciate you doing that."
*(WALLACE) *"You know, I wanted to wear a suit. I wanted to wear a three-piece, but this will do." *(laughter) *
*(HARBAUGH) *"We'll have three-piece moments in the future. We will."
Mike, were there a lot of teams that you were talking to at this point, and why was it the Ravens you picked? (Jeff Zrebiec)
*(WALLACE) *"I had three or four, but ultimately, like I said, 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. I had a couple options that I thought were pretty good as well, but I think this was the best one. I think this was the best choice and I think it just fit me – just the grinding 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."