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Ike Taylor Tells Mike Wallace That Football Doesn\’t Need Him, He Needs Football


The Pittsburgh Steelers second OTA session of the 2012 season started on Tuesday and once again restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace remains unsigned and away from the team. Cornerback Ike Taylor was with Wallace this past weekend out in Las Vegas and passed along word during his weekly show on Trib Live Radio Tuesday that Wallace wants to be with his teammates in Pittsburgh right now and is frustrated that he can\'t be.

Taylor told host John Harris Tuesday during the Ike Taylor Show, "Mike feels like he outperformed his last contract. But he’s dealing with a monster, and that’s the Pittsburgh Steelers … they are not going to let you dictate to them on how you feel." Taylor opened up by saying that Wallace told him that he has more yards than Jerry Rice and Randy Moss did in their first three years in the league. Taylor told Wallace that he couldn\'t really argue with that but he told the Steelers third year receiver, "Mike, you know, we do need you and we would love to have you at least in the building. You don\'t have to do nothing because its voluntary, but just your presence being around, you know, it could help or might speed up the process." Taylor also added, "I know there\'s a lot of frustration with Mike seeing a lot of guys getting signed to a big contracts." Taylor let Wallace know that at the rate he is going that he could wind up getting two more contracts and that right now he might consider showing a little good faith to the Steelers. Taylor did say however that he understands the situation that Wallace is in as he has been in that same position before, but that he himself really had to come back down because this isn\'t going to last too long, meaning playing professional football for a living. Taylor said he told Wallace, "Football don\'t need you; you need football."

Taylor admitted that if the Steelers still had the same offensive coordinator that it might not be a big deal, but with Todd Haley now taking over for the jettisoned Bruce Arians, Taylor wants Wallace here now to learn the offense. Taylor reiterated to Harris that Wallace is frustrated and wants to be with his teammates though. Wallace reportedly told Taylor, "I miss being around you boys. I want to be around you boys, but at the same time I want my paper." Taylor said he can\'t argue with Wallace on that.

If anyone could talk to Wallace about dealing with Steelers contractually, it is Taylor, who just recently signed his third one just last offseason as an unrestricted free agent. Taylor knows deep down inside that Wallace will not likely see a new contract until he signs his one-year tender and reports. The Steelers have a long history of dealing with players who hold-out and they will not let Wallace dictate to them what will happen by holding out. You have to know that Taylor got that point across to Wallace while the two were together in Vegas. Wallace has no chance at getting Larry Fitzgerald money, if indeed that is what he is asking for, and he needs to accept that despite outperforming Rice and Moss through their first three seasons in the league, he will only get want the Steelers deem is fair, and that number is likely way off the one Wallace and his agent Bus Cook currently have in both of their heads.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said just last week that Wallace and he had good conversations when Wallace was in town prior to the first OTA session getting underway. Tomlin also labeled the Wallace absence a "short-term misery" in addition. Taylor said on Tuesday that Wallace is going to be a Pittsburgh Steeler for years to come. That might take a while to happen though in my opinion. Wallace needs to sign his tender and report first and we will have to wait until he perhaps realizes what Taylor told him is correct, and that is that football doesn\'t need Wallace, Wallace needs football.

You can see video of the interview below and listen to the full audio of episode courtesy of Trib Live Radio below as well. It was a great interview Harris had with Taylor.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Mancoljduf11

    i must say i am officialy confused,wallace came in and got his playbook, and i would think that if he was so concerned about leverage that he would not have done that, but then i hear that he wants his money and yet Ben says that wallace is very excited to get back soon and then Taylor says that wallace is frustrsated and misses his boys, this just does not add up.

  • Rick Brenchak

    Wallace is delusional. His stats are nowhere close to those of Jerry Rice or Randy Moss. After 3 years, Moss amassed 226 catches, 4163 yards and 43 touchdowns. Rice compiled 200 catches 3577 yards and 40 touchdowns. Wallace has 171 catches, 3206 yards and a whopping 24 touchdowns. Statistically his production is 69% of Moss’s output and 78% of Rice’s. Get your facts straight buddy. This kind of nonsense does not endear yourself to your fan base. Be honest about your own talents and production. Furthermore, those guys didn’t hit their stride until later in their careers. If you want to measure yourself against the all-time greats, how about measuring yourself against their BEST years not their WORST years, for which you still dont even come close.

  • SteelerDave

    Frustrated he cannot be with his teammates? Lol. He can be and should be with the team showing the Steelers good faith but he is stubbornly refusing to do so and in the process hurting himself with the new offense. Sure he may have the playbook but it takes also running routes and seeing the full offense at work to truly get a grasp and excel in a new system.

    If he reports then the Steelers will concede on many issues and get to work in getting a deal done. Sign the tender Wallace, report to the OTAs and accept the fact that you are a long, long ways towards being a Rice or a Moss.

    If Brown has another great season and Sanders has a break-out season fully healthy then those are the two I would rather see get the big money. Wallace must develop as a much more complete WR than he currently is to deserve the money he wants.

  • Craig Ressler

    Look it up, Wallace’s stats are not better than Rice or Moss!! His TDs are way off and Moss had almost 1,000 more yards than Wallace in his first three seasons. Rice and Wallace’s yards are pretty close but again the TDs are even close between Rice and Wallace!

  • Jprankster2005

    Wallace will not get what he wants in money this yr. and the steelers will not sign him, And then next yr. they will either franchise Tag him or let him go…….. And with him acting like this already this yr. I don’t see them dealing with it again next yr……. He wants to much money and the they just won’t settle for less, I can already see where this is going……. So like I said I wish they would of just traded him and got a draft pick and picked up a good rookie reciver in the draft……. He’s not a true steeler in my book after acting like this and has lost my respect…..But who am I……. I just hope to see him leave next yr. and wind up with a team that will never compete to win a super bowl…….. Wish we could of got a 2nd rounder for him though…… I’m done comenting on this guy,, It’s old news……. His deal officially is not up or they wouldn’t have the right to bring him back on a tender……..So yes if they would Franchise him next yr. he would have an argument of playing out his contract…….But his contract techinally is not up so shut up and get in there with your team, Or I guarntee you alot of them will let him know when he get’s back……… And some of me thinks he will pull a Desean Jackson this yr. and not caring, But the steelers have more leaders and they will set him in his place if he does, As well as the coaches and bench him, If he wants to screw around….. I would love for him not to sign the tender by the 15th and the they cut his salary to 577,000.00 they would set him straight……. There might be a slim chance he just takes a contract that they offer because face it he hasn’t earned a whole lot and that signing bonus might be tempting but I don’t see it happening and next yr. be a FA……..

  • Jason White

    Wallace didn’t say his stats compared Rice and Moss. He said yards. Just yards. You guys are trying to add in TDs and catches.

  • Intropy

    DYAR (rank), DVOA (rank), AV

    Wallace:
    2011: 410 (5), 32.2% (8), 10
    2010: 444 (1), 48.8% (1), 11
    2009: 323 (16), 29.6% (4), 7

    Moss:
    2000: 466 (1), 33.4% (1), 17
    1999: 430 (3), 26.9% (6), 15
    1998: 431 (2), 30.4% (5), 17

    AV only
    Rice:
    1987: 14
    1986: 14
    1985: 9

  • Harold

    Great article. For many reasons.

    1) Who would’ve thought Ike Taylor (of all people) would be the fountain of such wisdom? But he is absolutely correct. Wallace needs to be here. Even if it only means just standing on the sideline. That small gesture says he is a Steeler and wants to be a Steeler and is a team guy. But more importantly, Wallace needs to be here to get acclimated with Haley’s new offense more quickly.

    2) Another reason I love this article is it reminds us what a great Steeler Ike Taylor is and always has been. Both times that Taylor re-signed I thought, “Wow. He definitely left some money on the table.” The question is WHY did Taylor sign for less? Because he realized that with the salary cap, when you play for a great team there are only so many dollars to go around. Many guys that “deserve” more. But most of the time it comes down to a choice: Less money on a championship team vs. More money on a losing team.” Taylor literally sacrificed money to be/stay a Steeler. And for that I will always respect him.

    3) Another reason is, this article includes a video post of a Steeler player actually talking (which everyone loves).

    4) When Taylor’s rookie contract was up. There were a lot of people doubting whether or not he would continue to be a Steeler. A number of other teams were offering him more money and it did not look like the Steelers would be able to afford his fair market value. I happened to be a training camp that summer and Ike stopped to talk to me for a minute. I told him (truthfully) he was one of my very very favorite players and I basically begged him to stay. (As if my opinion would even faze him in the slightest). I guess he thought I was pretty funny because he laughed for a bit and then whispers to me… “Don’t worry. I’m a Steeler.” And a couple weeks later he signed. He didn’t mention the words “money” or “contract” or any of that. He said. “I’m a Steeler.” And for me, that basically sums it all up.

  • RC

    Doesn’t matter his yards do no exceed period! The reasons cathes and TDs are brought into it is to just show that across the board he has not played to their caliber. As to say, there is not even one category in Mike Wallace’s game that has actually exceeded the production of Rice or Moss.

  • kevin

    Why would you hold Wallace, who has been in the league for three years, against the 3 best years of two all-time greats? Also, the advanced stats are more favorable to Wallace than traditional stats.

  • kevin

    Brown’s best season is not even close to Wallace’s top-2 seasons. I am not sure why so many Steelers fans have this fixation on Brown. He is a good player, but he is not in Wallace’s league and there is only a year separating the two.

  • kevin

    I am not sure that he should care about the respect of someone who continually makes facts up about his character.

    Also, Wallace is not under contract. Learn about the rules that govern player movement. The Steelers only own his rights, they do not have him under any contract.

    As to whether Wallace has earned much more than the restricted tender, it is clear that you have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Ben

    Jason, Wallace was wrong about the yards. Both Moss and Rice outperformed him

    total yards receiving for first three years:
    4163 Moss
    3575 Rice
    3206 Wallace

    The receptions and TDs are just insult to injury.

  • Jprankster2005

    What are you talking about? It’s a rule made up that they can offer him a 1 yr. tender…… When they do that other teams can offer him a contract and the steelers have the right to match it….. If they don’t they recieve a 1st round pick… But that was up April 20th…… So they have the rights to him under the tender, Which is a contract……. He can play for noone else this yr. at all, Unless he’s traded……. So what don’t I know what I’m talking about?

  • Jprankster2005

    And noone is making up stuff about his character, If your a big Steeler fan do you want him sitting out, And not learning the playbook? And support this nonsense…….. He will get no where without first signing the tender…….. He’s all about the money first, And somehow u can’t see that……..

  • Jprankster2005

    Wallace’s leauge? His deep Threat, That totally got caught onto by the opposing teams the last 8 games last yr…….. Sanders is better than Wallace as well as Brown……..

  • kevin

    Your response is laughable. Even by traditional metrics, Wallace easily outranks Brown. By advanced metrics, Wallace blows Brown away. Check out footballoutsiders WR stats. As to Sanders, I like the guy, but your point is absurd. I am not even going to respond with stats. Anyone can see that Sanders is not better than Wallace.

  • kevin

    Who cares? If a player is not about making money in that business, then the player is a fools. Were the Steelers loyal to Hines Ward when he wasn’t worth the paycheck? No. It did not make sense to keep him around when it hurt the team. Why should the team and fans be able to require such loyalty when it is not a two-way street? You continue to claim that Wallace is going to dog it when no one has suggested that Wallace is a jerk or lazy. That is making stuff up about his character. It says more about your character that you will question his integrity with no evidence than it says about Wallace.

    The tender is a contract when it is signed. Right now, the Steelers own his football rights. That does not mean that he is contractually obligated to the Steelers right now. If he was obligated, the Steelers could start fining him when he misses mandatory minicamps and/or training camp.

    If Wallace sits out, I am not going to lose sleep over it even though I am a big Steelers fan. I understand that these guys put their bodies on the line and they deserve to get whatever money they can get to set up themselves and their families.

  • Jmazzaiii

    yards per catch maybe? lol

  • Erinrh0504

    Antonio brown can run routes….wallace cant…and antonio brown is only like a milisecond slower than wallace…and his head isnt filled with im the greatest…brown is a hard worker and a team player…wallace is proving he is not!!!!

  • kevin

    You don’t know what Wallace’s head is filled with so that point is ridiculous. Your point that Wallace is not a team player because he wants to be paid more is also ridiculous. None of his teammates have questioned his work ethic, yet you believe that you are in position to do so. Wallace can run routes just fine. He is not the best, but he excels at every level of the route depth in ypc. Why don’t you base your opinion on something tangible rather than foolish speculation?

  • Clintmartin

    Can’t really compare a slot receiver to an outside or 1st receiver now can you?
    He is not a Larry Fitzgerald playmaker not even close! He isnot worth that kind of contract not even close!
    That is a funny comparison MOSS and RICE
    LMAO
    Put him with Mcoy or Romo and he has no numbers at all!

  • Nl_weathers

    As a native of PA and an lifelong Steelers fan, I have to say all of this squabbling over money is painful to watch, especially from a “blue collar” prespective. One of the many lessons I learned in my youth is that you don’t air your dirty laundry in public. Another is that hard work is it’s own reward. Wallace is a stand out player however no one man is bigger than the team! My advice: sign the tender, get to the OTA’s, get ready for the best season of your football life. Anything else should be handled off line, behind closed doors with only those closet involved.

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