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.