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Pittsburgh Steelers center Cody Wallace: Menace on the field, softy off the field

Cody Wallace has had the tough job of filling in for Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey in 2015. Why the veteran center has a nasty reputation on the field, but a soft side off it.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the 2015 season, Pittsburgh Steelers center Cody Wallace's most memorable moment was in 2013 when he got creative in the scrum, initiating some very, uh, "personal" contact with Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Randy Starks. He he was fined $7,875 for that maneuver, and for the next season kept a low profile as a backup to the healthy-in-2014 Maurkice Pouncey.

Wallace's level of play throughout the 2015 season has superseded his scrum-antics as his claim to fame, anchoring an offensive line that has provided adequate protection for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running lanes for running back DeAngelo Williams.

Though Wallace has avoided the technique for which he was fined in 2013 (fellow offensive lineman Ramon Foster said of the incident, "You mean when he was trying to be a doctor?", he is far from docile on the field, drawing three unnecessary roughness penalties so far this season. His most recent was for a late hit against the Broncos Malik Jackson for which he was fined $23,152.

Off the field, however, Wallace is "The nicest man in the world," according to Ramon Foster, via TribLive. Wallace describes his sensitive conscience, loath to break traffic laws. "I wouldn't be able to sleep at night because it would be on my conscience," Wallace said.

As center, however, Wallace crosses over to the dark side, bringing an adrenaline-fueled nastiness to the field. "Even all the way back to high school, that's just the way I've always played," he explained. Whether his demeanor off the field is more of the Mr. Rogers variety, or the style of play on the field leaves opponents wondering what is next, the Steelers will need Wallace to continue to play at his level of play to keep the offensive line clicking on all cylinders as the team prepares for a final postseason push.