In all my years, and decades of watching the Steelers, I’m amazed at how many people all over the league are so intrigued about when Mike Wallace is going to show up. Pittsburgh fans and other teams fans alike. I say that not because I don’t want him there, but because haven’t we all learned by now this lesson of how NFL players go about their business? We hang on every tidbit of information that comes from anyone associated with the team or media and then get disappointed when things don’t work out. I want Wallace here as much as anybody but I’ve grown tired of the situation too.
When the offseason first began after that dreadful loss in Denver, all the talk was about how much Mike Wallace wants and if he’d sign a 1 yr. tender from the Steelers. He went on SiriusXM and told the world that he’d listen to other offers but that his heart was in Pittsburgh, this is a business, etc. So many people took that to heart calling him every name in the book because he wanted to explore his options, even if he was just going to be a restricted free agent. The sky began to fall if you see where I’m going with this.
Wallace then went almost completely silent to the media and the fans. He wasn’t as active on Twitter, wasn’t doing any media interviews, you name it, he wasn’t doing it. I guess silence is better than stirring the pot to anyone that will listen though.
The restricted free agent tenders went out and slowly but surely the team got everyone signed but Wallace. The rumors of the San Francisco 49ers saying they were interested in Wallace until they found out he wanted in excess of $100 million, well that just blew the doors right off SteelerNation as everybody and their brother ranted and raved that he wasn’t worth anywhere near that much. There were a few that said he is but nonetheless Wallace continued his silence, as did his agent Bus Cook.
The NFL scouting combine gave us a glimpse into what the Steelers felt about Wallace when GM Kevin Colbert went on multiple interviews telling everyone that they wanted to sign Mike Wallace long term. Silence…
The draft comes and goes and the trade rumors came and went, Wallace still not signed and no end in sight.
Organized team activities (OTA), and surely Wallace would show up for these right? The silence continued as did the holdout. A few players said they’ve talked to Wallace and gave us that traditional player stance of ” We love Mike, we want him here, it will get done, we support him” etc.
Mandatory mini camps, and now Wallace would show up, right? Still nothing as Mike Tomlin was already growing weary of talking about the situation and gave his normal, “he’ll be here when he gets here” types of responses to inquiries.
All the draft picks sign and every player is in camp accounted for on July 26th, except Wallace. Multiple players said they’ve talked to their teammate and assured fans that he wants to be here and it will get done soon, but still nothing. Not a peep out of Wallace or his agent.
Kevin Colbert makes the announcement that the team has pulled latest offer, rumored to be over $50 million for 5 years. They will not talk contract with him until he shows up to camp and signs the tender. Just a few days into camp, Antonio Brown gets a new contract worth $42.5 million. Finally we hear from Wallace; but it’s just a congratulatory tweet to Brown.
So now in this second week of training camp in Latrobe, Ben Roethlisberger says the following when questioned about his teammate: It’s tough because Mike is a good friend and a great teammate. I’ve been talking to him a little bit, and we’ll be excited for him when he does get here. I’m sure he’ll be here and he’ll be with us before the first game. I don’t think he’ll wait very long.
Between all of the “little torn rotator” cuff news that came out, everyone again jumped on the news that Wallace was coming soon just because Ben says so. How many times have we heard, he’ll be here soon, this offseason?
The word “soon” is a relative term, perhaps soon is the first preseason game, perhaps it’s the first regular season game, perhaps it’s tomorrow. All I know is, he’ll show up when he shows up but right now he’s got little motivation to do so because a nice chunk of his money was given to Antonio Brown. The team can’t fine him because he’s not under contract. Maybe he shows up when the season starts but there’s no guarantee. If he does continue this holdout and show up at the last minute, he’s not likely to just be inserted into the lineup in his normal position after no time to work with his team, new coach, learn the playbook the way the others have been able to, etc. Imagine how that will go over when the time comes.
This will last until he feels his point has been made to his satisfaction. All I know is, Wallace has dominated the water cooler talk more than any player in recent history. The only one that even came close was Hines Ward and the race to 1,000 all time receptions. So show up or don’t show up, one man never makes or breaks a super bowl season for the Steelers. Save yourself the heartache, friends, the Wallace situation is far from over, even when he does show up.