Pittsburgh Steelers players say they welcome the anticipated return of speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace.
The Steelers’ biggest offensive playmaker has missed all of training camp in an attempt to force the team into giving him a new contract, but recently indicated to teammate that he plans to sign his restricted free agent tender in the very near future.
Wallace has been a hold-out, missing all of training camp in an attempt to force the team into giving him a new contract.
His return sounded all but certain.
“We’re excited to get Mike back,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told NFL.com and the NFL Network during halftime of his team’s 38-7 preseason win over Buffalo Saturday night. “I talk to him all the time and, you know, he’s one of us. He’s one of our boys, and we are like family. So when he gets back, we are going to be excited.”
Pittsburgh hosts Carolina in this Saturday night’s preseason finale before traveling to Denver on the night of Sept. 9 to open the regular season. The Steelers will have just two days of regular practice this week, so it’s unclear whether Wallace will suit up this coming weekend.
But just having him back in the fold will be good for the team’s long-term success.
He’s another big-time deep target for Roethlisberger whose speed will allow Pittsburgh to stretch opposing defenses.
Wallace, a fourth-year pro out of Ole Miss, has recorded consecutive seasons of at least 1,100 yards receiving to establish himself as one of the league’s best receivers. He totaled 72 catches for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns last year.
He had hoped for renegotiate his rookie contract that still has two years remaining on it for a lucrative long-term team, but the Steelers wouldn’t budge to nobody’s surprise.
The organization has been notorious for not giving its star players the big money they could find elsewhere and has long refused to negotiate with holdouts.
Playing good soldier worked for fellow receiver Antonio Brown, and it might be Wallace’s best chance as well for a long-term deal.