The Mike Wallace holdout saga continues, and as the days weeks continue to go by more people are speaking out on the situation. It’s a shame that we still have to talk about this with preseason underway and the regular season starting next month. Somehow though in the back of our minds, as fans we feared it would come to this and now it has. Much like Hines Ward’s situation, he had to show up and put forth the good faith effort to be with the team and the Steelers made good on their promise. This is something that, as many Steeler Nation members are aware, if the Rooney’s tell you they are going to do something, they’ll do it, but it goes both ways. Nobody is above the team no matter who you are and that’s a tough lesson to learn for some.
If there’s anybody that understands the Steelers and how they treat their players, it’s Jerome Bettis. He talks about the Wallace situation, via NFL.com:
“I think when you go through the history of the Steelers, they do things a bit differently,” Bettis said on Thursday. “And when you look at in relationship to their stars, they still stay one way. They’re firm in their resolve and the way they do things. All you have to do is go back to Hines Ward.
“His situation, he had a holdout before his last contract. He wanted x-amount of dollars and they were one way. At the end of the day, they told Hines he needed to come into camp before they would consummate a deal. And Hines had to come in and he came in, and once he came in they were able to work the deal out.
“But the problem is, you know, Mike (Wallace) doesn’t really understand the concept of how theSteelers work, and so he’s got to kind of figure that out. Once he figures that out and comes in, I think they’ll work a deal out.”
The Ward and Wallace situations are similar in that they’re both receivers who were looking for more money. However, Ward was in the final year of his second contract when he skipped the first three weeks of the Steelers‘ 2005 training camp. Wallace is not signed, and thus not obligated to attend camp, and is looking for his second contract.
In the end, “The Bus” is right. Wallace (who’s agent is James “Bus” Cook) has limited options and his best bet is to return to the fold.
While Mike Tomlin has is no longer commenting on the Wallace situation, it’s clear by the media reports and if you’ve seen any of his training camp pressers that he is disappointed with Wallace and no longer wishes to discuss the situation at all. The word is too from local Steelers media that he is no longer supportive of Wallace continuing to hold out and has long since moved forward with the notion that “if he shows up, he shows up”. The team is preparing for life without Wallace just in case.
Rumors continue to surface around names like former Steeler Plaxico Burress, although Kevin Colbert has stated that they are not looking to sign anyone presently. If Wallace holds into the last week of preseason and into the start of the regular season, the team would likely highly consider bringing in a veteran of some sort.
The 2nd tier receivers in training camp so far are not standing out in a good way, but rather an inconsistent way according to Tomlin. These preseason games will be as important for their future as it is for the team and their possible signing of another player before the season starts.
Around and around we go, who’s next to comment on Wallace?