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OTAs set to begin with three big absences

Known around the professional football world as “OTAs,” Official Team Activities are scheduled to get underway this week for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The fact that these were not participated in last season due to the lockout is one thing, but this year’s OTAs take on even more meaning this year in Pittsburgh with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley installing his offense.

 Unfortunately there are three guys who will be noticeably absent from these activities for a couple of different reasons.

 Steelers’ Pro Bowl Wide Receiver Mike Wallace will not be participating as he continues to holdout and not sign his $2.7 million tender offer from the Steelers. While General Manager Kevin Colbert continues to tell the media he wants to get Wallace signed to a long-term deal, the sides remain far apart.

 Remember that Wallace must be on the active 53-man roster for six games in 2012 in order to get the accrued year of service he desperately wants in order to be an unrestricted free agent. This is why many people continue to believe that Wallace will be in the fold come training camp time and of course the fact the Steelers really don’t have any money plays into as well.

 The other two men missing in action this week will be first and second round draft picks David DeCastro and Mike Adams. DeCastro and his fellow academics at Stanford University do not get out of the spring semester until mid- June while Adams and his Buckeyes get out about a week before.

 Quite frankly these are the types of rules that make the NFL and NCAA look almost stupid, but I’m going down a road that could lead to a novel so I’m moving on…

 The absence of Wallace speaks for itself but the fact that DeCastro and Adams will be absent is very concerning as well. It has been speculated widely over the last 10 days that these two men will almost certainly be starting on the offensive line and missing these OTAs is going to cost them a lot of time with Haley’s offense and reps as well.

 My gut feeling is that both men will be OK and that every team in the league knows how to get around certain OTA rules to educate their players so don’t be too alarmed. Let’s just hope all three are in Latrobe come training camp time.

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