Steelers WR Mike Wallace missed practice all week due to a deep muscle issue from his hamstring to his posterior, and on Friday he was ruled out of a regular-season finale that just might constitute his Steelers finale. It also marks the first absence of his four-year career.

For the retooling Steelers, a new, pricey, multi-year contract may not be in the offing for the 2011 Pro Bowl receiver who played on a $2.7 million tender for what even he termed a disappointing 2012.

If Wallace doesn't return in 2013, he likely wouldn't be the only veteran excised from the roster.

Nose tackle Casey Hampton, 35, who joked while winning the media-voted Art Rooney "Chief" Award this week that he could always play elsewhere next year, is a vet viewed as ripe for exit amid Steelers rebuilding that last winter saw receiver Hines Ward, linebacker James Farrior and defensive end Aaron Smith all retire. 

Pro Bowl outside linebacker James Harrison, 34, slowed by multiple back and knee surgeries the past two seasons, was non-committal on the departure subject Friday. ("Looking forward to playing the Browns (Sunday), after that we'll see how it goes.") And inside linebacker Larry Foote, 32, tied for the team lead with 104 tackles, already had been wondering aloud if this might be his Steelers finale.

"You never know what they're going to do upstairs," Foote said. "Every year, there are some old guys pushed out the door. Hopefully, I'm back. 

"It's always a business first. From a selfish standpoint, the defense was No. 1 in the league. I hope we're all back."

Wallace and agent Bus Cook failed to come to terms before this season started, then he went out and compiled his lowest numbers since his rookie season four years ago, when he started just four games: 13.1 yards per catch on 64 receptions and eight touchdowns.

"We'll see how it goes," Wallace said of potential futurure talks. "Obviously, this year didn't go the way I wanted it to go. But I feel I'm on the path to do some great things."

Strange feeling: For just the fourth time in the past 12 years, the Steelers play Sunday knowing there's no postseason to follow the regular-season finale. "It's going to be a downer," Wallace said. "You're used to playing for the playoffs."

Not Heeeeeeath: Rookie tight end David Paulson, wearing No. 81, has been mistaken by fans in the stands for Heath Miller, No. 83. On Sunday, he'll likely start and play often for his mentor and newfound Pro Bowl teammate, who underwent season-ending knee surgery this week. "They made jokes about it," said Paulson of his teammates' reaction to him being confused with Miller. "But I can't ask for a better teammate than (Miller). He has been great. Some other guys are gong to have to step it up, me and the rest of the offense." Backup Leonard Pope has hardly played the last half of the season, so re-signed Jamie McCoy could see reserve duty.

Injury report: In addition to Wallace, also ruled out for Sunday were dime back and special-teamer Curtis Brown (ankle), newly promoted reserve linebacker Marshall McFadden (abdomen) and offensive tackle Mike Adams (ankle). Listed as probable were safety Troy Polamalu (not injury related), guard David DeCastro (hamstring) and cornerback Keenan Lewis (knee).

Follow Steelers reporter Chuck Finder on Twitter @CBSSteelers and @cfinder.