DENVER -- Sunday not only marked the beginning of the season for the Steelers, it signaled the end of negotiations between them and wide receiver Mike Wallace.
It comes as no surprise that there will be no multiple-year contract for Wallace. He did not end his holdout until two days before the final preseason game. That left them a dozen to try to work out a new contract, because the Steelers have a long-standing policy of not negotiating contracts once the regular season starts.
"Talks" may be too strong a word to describe the discussions between the Steelers and Wallace's agent over the past 12 days. Very little went on.
So, Wallace will play this year for a salary of more than $2.7 million. At the end of the season, talks could open again on a multiple-year contract.
If he does not sign, he could become an unrestricted free agent in March, provided the Steelers do not put the franchise tag on him. That would cost them close to $11 million next season if they do. And they can also put the franchise tag on him a second time in 2014.
Whether they do or not in '13 could depend on how Wallace performs this season.
Bob Costas interviewed Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for NBC-TV's Football Night in America. Among other things, Costas asked Roethlisberger if he expects offensive coordinator Todd Haley to get in his face:
"It will probably be deserved, I hope," Roethlisberger said. "If it's deserved, no problem. I'm sure he will at one point. Every coach, at some point, their temper starts to come out. But, when it comes to that time, we'll be able to deal with it and move on."
On where he ranks among quarterbacks:
"When it's all said and done, when I'm retired, I hope they look back and say, 'Wow, we kind of underestimated this guy. He's got a lot of wins and did some great things.' To me, that's all that matters is wins and losses, and I feel that my record should speak for itself."
On ranking fourth behind Tom Brady, Roger Staubach and Joe Montana in all-time win percentage:
"That's all that matters to me are wins and championships. I don't think I'll ever be taken first in the fantasy draft, but, that's what it is, it's a fantasy draft. I would hope if you ask that same guy picking the fantasy that if you had to have a game right now and you had to have a win, who would you take? I would hope I'd be at the top of that list. And, if not, prove him wrong."
With all the hype that concentrated on the quarterbacks Sunday night, the Steelers and Broncos combined for 66 total yards in the first quarter. And not much attention got paid to the two men who emerged as stars of the game early: defensive coordinators Dick LeBeau and Jack Del Rio.
Del Rio was in his first appearance for Denver in that role after serving as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Speaking of LeBeau, Sunday marked his 75th birthday. This is his 54th year in the NFL, 14 as a Hall of Fame cornerback with the Detroit Lions, the past 40 as a coach. "You know the best present we can give him, don't you?" linebacker Larry Foote asked before the game. "All he wants from us is a 'W.' "
Before Sunday night, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, in his 15th NFL season, had played four games against the Steelers. In those games, the Steelers sacked him 11 times and held him to a quarterback rating of 84.3, more than 110 points less than his career average. Manning was 2-1 against them in the regular season, 0-1 in the playoffs.
There were no surprises among the Steelers inactives after it was determined that outside linebacker James Harrison would not play. This was the first opening-game start Harrison has missed in the past six years and the first opener he has missed since he made the roster for good in '04.
The other inactives for the Steelers: quarterback Charlie Batch, safety Ryan Clark, running back Rashard Mendenhall, linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum and nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu.
Inactives for Denver: wide receiver Andre Caldwell, running back Ronnie Hillman, linebacker Steven Johnson, offensive lineman Philip Blake, defensive lineman Malik Jackson, offensive guard Chris Kuper and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga.
Staff writers Ron Cook and Gene Collier contributed to this report. For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette on the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Ed Bouchette: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @EdBouchette.