Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark has never been shy about speaking his mind and in a recent interview with Bob Pompeani of KDKA-TV, Clark let his thoughts be known about the loss wide receiver Mike Wallace during the offseason and the addition of third-round draft pick Markus Wheaton.
“Markus Wheaton is better than Michael Wallace at everything but one thing: speed,” Clark said. “That\’s it. He does everything else better, and it’s not a knock on Mike, and it\’s not saying that Markus can be more productive than Mike, because the thing that Mike did well, he did it better than anybody in the NFL, and that was run.
“I think as far as route running, he\’s more polished; I think he has better hands. They both are extremely tough guys to be slightly built, but just as being a receiver, to have an opportunity to catch I think like 100 balls, or something crazy last year at Oregon State; he\’s ready to step in and play. So we do lose that deep threat that Michael provided, although Markus can run, but nobody runs like Mike runs. I think Markus can step in and do that.”
Those are pretty strong words from Clark, but you can sense the conviction behind them in his voice when you listen to the interview. Wheaton, as Clark points out, caught nearly 100 passes last season as he finished the year with 91 catches for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Wheaton exhibited a few mental errors in the preseason opener last Saturday night against the New York Giants, but also showed some flashes of just how much potential he has. With his first-game jitters now behind him, it wouldn\’t be surprising to see him put on a show Monday night against the Washington Redskins.
As far as Clark\’s comments about Wheaton being a better all-around receiver than Wallace, he will get a chance to tell that to his former teammate\’s face when the Steelers host the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field in Week 14. Hopefully, Clark will be wearing his running shoes in that game or else Wallace will make him pay for running his mouth.