Let me just state this right off the bat: I like Mike Wallace. A lot.
If you're a regular reader of this blog you know that we at If It Ain't Steel never bash anyone outright (except Jonathan Scott-which is the last time that name ever has to be written). In fact, we often praise Wallace for his talents. We are, nonetheless, always realistic about what we see as well.
What we see, therefore, is that Wallace's holdout is not a good idea. If he shows up in the "three to four days" that Emmanuel Sanders mentioned, then things can move forward toward repairing his image in the eyes of most Steelers fans. An image that has faded considerably in the last few months. Even more so now that it's been revealed that it is Wallace who decided to hold out and not because of bad advice from agent Bus Cook.
Make no mistake, Steeler Nation wants to see him and the Steelers could use him opposite Antonio Brown. Period. From a talent standpoint there's no question. What needs to be remembered, though, is that one man does not a team make. He's a great luxury, not a great need. Love the player, hate the attitude.
That is the issue here. What has Steelers fans upset is the persona and attitude that he's allowing to define him. No one denies what he can do on the field. Despite last season's second half drop off and leaving any and all stats out of this, Wallace is a major talent with monumental potential.
I also understand, though, that it's a business and that he wants to get paid. But one positive statement from Wallace by now could've quelled much of the backlash he's is getting. Just one. Instead, he looks like he doesn't care about the team. He's made it seem that way, no one else.
What's worse is that now the coaches and general manager are addressing the holdout, pointing out that, per policy, they won't wait around or contact him. He has to show up and/or contact them.
Tomlin was not very happy that Wallace is not in camp. He said Wednesday, "Mike Wallace isn't here today. That's unfortunate for him."
Short and sweet. Though, Tomlin did go on to say that he hasn't talked to Wallace for some 10-14 days at that point. It was Steelers GM Kevin Colbert who was more elaborate about things.
"We've chosen to not progress with negotiations at this point," Colbert said Thursday. "Once we made that decision, now we're in a different mode. We'll have to address any new negotiations if we get to that point."
Colbert said Wallace will have to sign the tender of $2.742 million before they will resume negotiations on a long-term deal.
"Him not being here, really we have to focus on what we can control because we can't control that. Again, every negotiation is unique, you put your best foot forward. If it's not suitable for both parties, you have to adjust, and we're really in adjust-move-forward-mode right now."
Regarding the policy mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago, Colbert stated, "I don't want to get into a lot of specifics of the negotiations because we don't do that as a rule, but at that point he didn't indicate to us what his next course of action was to be other than we weren't going to have an agreement. This is unique because it's a restricted free agent that has a tender that can be signed, and you can still negotiate off of that."
Colbert then pointed out that the next move is Wallace's.
"Yeah, we have to move on. We have to prepare with the 89 guys who are here. You have to, you can't focus on who isn't here because you lose track of what you're supposed to be doing."
Mike Wallace needs to get to Camp. He needs to realize that at present he's only hurting himself by holding out and he's alienating fans. It's a lose-lose situation. If he gets his head right, get to Camp and signs, I'll welcome him back with open arms as I'm sure will most of Steeler Nation. He needs to get back to work and once again show that monumental potential. But it needs to happen. Soon.
Wallace is very good, no doubt. A lot of what he is, though, is predicated on speed. The Steelers do, though, have two other wide receivers with 4.4/40 speed. Yeah, I know Wallace is sub 4.35/40, and such speed is a great weapon to have. With that said, though, allow me to help put this in perspective: name a Super Bowl the Steelers won with a sub 4.35/40 wide receiver. Go ahead, I'll wait.