If you thought that Pittsburgh Steelers center Cody Wallace just had to be the most highly-penalized offensive lineman, then think again, because you’re wrong. Wallace only the eighth-highest penalized lineman in the league. But he does hold the distinction as the most highly-penalized interior lineman. Tackles tend to draw more flags due to their distance from center and the volume of edge rushers they face.
I should say, technically, he shares the distinction as the most highly-penalized interior lineman with Logan Mankins. Both players have accumulated eight fouls in their 12 games played.
But Wallace’s fouls have drawn more penalty yardage, so he gets the nod in a tie-breaker—the only one the Steelers are winning right now. Wallace also drew a ninth penalty that was declined, and so nudges ahead again.
Amazingly, Wallace has drawn two flags for false starts, which is not exactly something that you see on a weekly basis from the center position, since the play starts with them snapping the ball.
The veteran journeyman has also drawn five fouls for holding—one of which was declined—and two for unnecessary roughness. His eighth and ninth fouls were accumulated on Sunday night against the Colts, including the declined hold.
The game also produced his second unnecessary roughness penalty of the season when he piled on to a grounded defensive lineman after a play. The 15-yard penalty looked to sabotage a promising Steelers drive, but the offense overcame it and produced a touchdown to end the series.
Wallace’s previous unnecessary roughness penalty came all the way back in Week Two after he threw a chip block against a defender on a screen pass after the play was already over, though he may not have known at the time of the infraction that was the case.
He had one previous two-foul game, in Week Nine, when he gathered both of his false starts on the year. He drew a foul in each of the first three games of the season as well, but had only one over the span of the next five games. He has been penalized five times in the last five games.
In all, his eight accepted fouls have produced 80 yards in penalties, with 10 each obviously coming from the four accepted holds. Each false start moved the offense back five yards, with the personal fouls knocked them back 15. That is 15 more yards than Mankins.
Wallace’s five accepted fouls have been responsible for 11.76 percent of the Steelers’ total penalties, which is the seventh-highest percentage among all players in the league. Cornerback Brandon Browner leads with 19 accepted penalties and an 18.45 percent share of his team’s total.
The 31-year-old former fourth-round draft pick is in his third season with the Steelers and has started the entire season at center due to the Achilles injury suffered by All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey during the preseason. The only extensive playing time of his seven-year career has come in Pittsburgh. He started four games at center in 2013 and two games at guard in 2014.