Bettis Thinks Wallace Is Playing Hardball With The Wrong Team

Preseason Live:  Get live streaming of NFL Preseason games...Limited Time!Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis was a guest Thursday morning on the NFL AM show on the NFL Network and he was asked if restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace, who has yet to sign his one-year tender offer and report training camp, is playing hardball with the wrong team.

“I really think he is,” said Bettis. “I think when you go through the history of the Steelers, they do things a bit differently. 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 the Steelers 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.”

If anyone knows how the Steelers work, it would be Bettis, who spent 10 seasons in Pittsburgh before retiring after the 2005 season that culminated in a win against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. While the situation with Hines Ward is a little different because Ward was currently under contract at the time, it is relative nonetheless.

Although not a member of the Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson recently said in an interview on the same morning show that Wallace has nothing to gain moving forward based on his own recent contract experience prior to last season.

Wallace has had zero leverage for some time now and the Steelers insist that they will not trade him either, which would set a bad precedent in dealing with future players. Until Wallace reports and signs his tender, no negotiations will take place. While Wallace could choose to sit out until the final 6 weeks of the season so that he gets his accrued season towards unrestricted free agency, he faces the threat of being hit with the franchise tag next offseason.

  • Steve Duncan

    First thing Bettis has said in a while that I completely agree with.

  • TJimmy

    Wallace may think he has leverage if the Steelers get thin on WR and the preseason yields no viable candidates to take his place, especially if a WR gets injured.

  • kenstabler

    As long as he’s ready for week one all is fine. He’s smart….management is smart…..winning is what matters. Mike Wallace will be in uniform for week one….he’ll have a good year or a great year. He may be gone next year but everyone knows his value drops on the open market if he sits too long…so week one….Mike is there for the Steelers.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Mike, you’re super talented. You run with the best of them. You’re young. You have your health. News Flash: NONE of this will last. I respect your position to hold out for the kwan but use your God given common sense. These owners, this team, this town will embrace you like no other frnachise in the NFL if you show up, make your deal and play with the God given talent that you have. You will not regret it. Look at how many ex-Steelers and lifers come back to retire as Steelers. There’s a reason for that. You’re incredibly talented man. You really are. But you’re not bigger than the whole team. Do yourself a favor and at least come in, sit down at the table like a man and talk this out. We love ya Mike.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    This is so much ado about nothing. Wallace will show up either after this preseason game or the next. Based on the way the CBA is structured and the way the Steelers did his first contract (3yrs instead of 4) the system sets up for standoffs like this. In my opinion, the Steelers should negotiate with him since he is not a holdout, but either way he will eventually play for the Steelers this year. It’s his right to determine how much injury risk he wants to take by reporting and playing before the 10th game.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I don’t think you can leverage the Steelers. They don’t allow that. I think this is a simply a risk equation for Wallace. What are the odds he gets hurt playing for the tender and is not full speed for unrestricted free agency next year? I think he’ll show within the next 10 days so he has ample time to be ready for a full season. It will also give him a couple weeks to resume negotiations before the season starts.

  • emac2

    I’m pretty sick of hearing how it’s just business when the Steelers stick it to a player but when A player exercises his rights under the CBA he’s a bad person. Slavery went out a long time ago.

    I’m not addressing anyone in specific but anyone who wears the shoe should feel free to respond.

  • emac2

    The equation I can’t get past is how much he is paid per game this year and how he can justify risking a 50 million dollar contract to make $150,000 a game for 10 games. I can’t honestly figure out an angle where that makes any sense.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Since when is making 7 or 8 million a year having it “stuck” to ya ? The average wage in western pa for any family is in the $45k range annually. Really ? Good Lord there’s some folks with misplaced values. And yes I’ve worn the shoe – professionally.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    He is also risking whatever is in the offer the Steelers have on the table. If he doesn’t report before the season starts, there is no chance the Steelers negotiate with him during the season.

    I said it above and I’ll say it again, I wish they would not consider this a holdout given that he doesn’t a contract. I don’t think they’d be breaking precedent if they continued negotiations with him.

  • emac2

    I would guess the Steelers offer left this years compensation at 2.75 and added 5/50 (or whatever) starting next year. I agree on your other point. I was totally against Ward because he held out when he was under contract and ignored the signing bonus he got to sign the deal in the first place. Wallace is a third round pick less then a year from a 50 million dollar pay day. He isn’t under contract and never got a big signing bonus. I think part of the “Tomlin era” should be a little more respect for players whose goals might not align with the teams. Refusing to even talk to a player and to compare him with someone refusing to honor a contract he agreed to is wrong.

  • SteelSpine

    I’m glad SteelersDepot joined onboard now by saying Wallace has no leverage with the Steelers. I was one of the % of people who pointed it out in the beginning & but what we got was frequent articles of people who said Wallace will arrive before preaseason.
    TJimmy below is right tho. If ABrown gets injured (or Sanders plus i.e Crotchery), there will be an immediate press conference (within 2 days) everyone smiling at podium announcing Wallace long-term deal (technically he woulda reported then signs it).
    I think what threw Steelers off at the beginning was the market value became set at about $10 mil. Vincent Jackson & the DeSean Jackson each got deals of ~$50 mil for 5yr contracts. & franchise tag for receivers this year was set at almost $10 mil (which New England gave). I/we can say Wallace aint worth $10 mil to Steelers because we have ABrown etc, but the price is determined by whatever other owners paid.