Today the sports media world was gathered at Heinz Field to see Mike Wallace return, and to interview him after practice. (Wallace, of course, did not practice, but it was announced he would be available to the media then.)
But James Harrison, never one to miss an opportunity to stir things up a little, published the first official interview this morning. You can find the interview linked here on our Facebook page. After the jump is a transcript of the interview. As Bob Labriola pointed out on Steelers.com, the questions were a lot more intelligent than most of the ones being asked of Wallace during the afternoon press conference.
James Harrison: Alright, we're here in the locker room, fresh from Mike Wallace just returned to us. I wanna know how it feels to be back, you know what I'm sayin'?
Mike Wallace: It feels great, man, to be back with my brothers and my teammates. I've got one goal and one goal only, trying to get like you, man, just tryin' to win a Super Bowl, man, just trying to do my part.
JH: Definitely, man. I got another question, though. You feel like you gonna be able to catch up to the offense in time, so you can go out there and have that spectacular season like we are used to seein' outta you?
MW: Hey, man, you know, you know me, I'm a work-hard guy, I've been on my plays, I've been doing all that. So there's not going to be no slow stuff, I'm already ready, man. I know my playbook for the most part.
JH: Alright, man, that's what I like to hear. That's live, right here in the Steelers' locker room, with James Harrison and Mike Wallace da kid, first interview.
MW: First interview, nobody else, nobody else.
Wallace clearly enjoyed this interview far more than the press conference after practice. He made it explicit from the start he didn't intend to talk about anything happening prior to today. So naturally the interviewers continued to ask him questions about the holdout, presumably for the pleasure of hearing him come up with yet another way to say he wasn't going to talk about the past.
But in the meantime a star may have been born. Not content to rest on his laurels as the very first person to score an interview with Wallace, Harrison interviewed Antonio Brown (linked here, also on our Facebook page), with this result:
James Harrison: Alright, this is interview No. 2 right here, I'm here with Antonio. I want to know how you feel about Mike Wallace comin' back, babe.
Antonio Brown: I'm excited, man. You know the kid offers explosiveness and loosens things up and that helps the offense to be explosive.
JH: Definitely, definitely. You think there'll be any ill, you know, ill will towards him for not comin' in and all that, or you think that everybody'll be cool wit' it and get it going and understand it's a business?
AB: Definitely I understand it's a business and we understand that and we embrace him. As long as he takes care of his business, we embrace him. As long as he comes in and gives us his all, which I know he will on the field, that's all we can ask for.
JH: Thank you, man. That's the interview with Antonio Brown who's filled us in on Mike Wallace. You all gotta come to James Harrison to get the EXCLUSIVES!!!
AB: Come to James Harrison to get the EXCLUSIVES!!!
Harrison was asked later whether he saw himself doing more of this, and he said, basically, no. However, Ryan Clark was clearly feeling outdone, because later in the day when Emmanuel Sanders was being interviewed he wrested the mic out of the hand of one of the interviewers and moved the focus of the interview in a rather different direction:
Emmanuel Sanders: [Answering a previous, normal sort of question:] You know, Mike has been here ever since I've been here, and Mike, he's one of those guys whose got an exceptional personality, you know, and we're looking forward to getting him back out there.
Ryan Clark: How do you feel about those people who say that Mike Wallace being back adds to the attractiveness of the group? With you yourself not being very attractive? They say that you guys are really good players, but not a very handsome group.
ES: (Laughing) First and foremost,
RC: Also not very good dressers.
ES: First and foremost, you can look at me and see I'm the most handsomest guy in the group. As far as the other two, I don't know, but you know, we're excited to have Mike back and it's going to be fun.
RC: (refusing to let the interview return to normal) How do you feel about the fact that you cannot get open against the DBs all camp, that maybe Mike might loosen it up so you can actually catch a pass at practice?
ES: Well, I don't know about that, there's been a lot of fighting during training camp, and I think it's maybe because me and Antonio's been beating the DBs.
Everyone in the area including the principals are now cracking up. Sanders tried to go on, but finally looked at Clark and said "That's it."
All in all, I would say the locker room is pretty tight. And they are having fun as well!
(The Ryan Clark/Emmanuel Sanders interview can be found here, a goodly ways into the video.)