Latest Steelers Buzz

Insider Only Latest Steelers Buzz: Is a tough emotional situation likely for Wallace this season?

Mike Wallace was always going to show up before week 1 and if Ed Bouchette’s report holds up of Wallace reporting this weekend (signing $2.742 million tender) after Saturday’s game vs Buffalo, citing multiple sources, then the Steelers belief all along that Wallace’s plan was to avoid playing in the first three preseason games will be spot on.
By reporting Sunday or Monday, Wallace is also likely to avoid the Steelers final preseason game on Thursday August 30th. What might irk the team a bit right now though is that Wallace is already believed to be back in Pittsburgh but apparently his camp has informed the team Wallace won’t be reporting until the weekend.
As the Wallace holdout has dragged on to almost 30 days, holding out this long has been nothing more than a pride thing and the Steelers have been the clear winners from the get go by never giving in or going away from their philosophy.
Even when Wallace’s agent Bus Cook in March informed the Steelers that they wanted to explore other opportunities through restricted free agency and see what’s out there first before negotiating with the Steelers, Pittsburgh gave Wallace all the time he needed without much of a fight and the end result was Wallace not getting a single visit from an interested team. The Steelers then pulled their five year offer believed to be just north of $45 million on July 25th after Wallace failed to report and have stuck to their guns of not negotiating to a long-term deal until Wallace reports again. Therefore, Wallace’s holdout accomplished nothing for him.
When Wallace reports and assuming it’s by Sunday or Monday, the Steelers are likely to re-open negotiations on a long-term deal to see if Wallace’s stance has changed, but the team is said to feel it’s a big longshot they can get a deal done based on where the sides were in talks leading up to July 25.
There is also a thought that Wallace holding out this long is another sign that Wallace doesn’t believe the two sides can reach an agreement as the Steelers mandate is to break off all extension talks when the regular season starts. However, it is always possible (very unlikely) that Wallace comes off his demands a bit looking at scenarios this season that could lessen his value as an unrestricted free agent next year, such as a possible lesser role in the Steelers new offense that emphasis the run more and a quicker passing game, in addition to Antonio Brown being Ben Roethlisberger’s go-to-guy, which began to happen during the second half of last season when Wallace averaged under 47 yards per game in the Steelers  final nine games.
When Wallace reports, he will be welcomed with open arms by his teammates but former long-time Colts executive Bill Polian on NFL live today when ESPN actually ran a segment not about Tim Tebow/Mark Sanchez, spoke about the likely difficulties for Wallace when he returns.
“Two difficulties here for the player, ” Polian said. “One is physical, short time to get ready. People who come in late, often times get hurt and there’s a worry about that…..Second for me, is more difficult one, emotional part of it…..His teammate [Antonio Brown} got the money, and he’s worried about whether or not there’s any for him there. He also has to perform if he has to go on the open market next year. It’s a tough emotional situation for him.”
There has been a ton of chatter among Wallace’s teammates about how good of shape Wallace is in (despite none of the players training with him in person for over a month) but does that mean he’s in football shape? Former all-pro wide receiver Chris Carter believes training on your own doesn’t relate to football shape.
“I look for him to have a good season {but} as Bill said before, it is very difficult if you miss all that work regardless of how hard you train, and I’m very, very familiar with this, and you can’t get into the type of team football shape unless you have people grabbing you with equipment on in the dog days of summer, ” Carter said today on NFL live.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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