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Wallace Can’t Win


Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review

To steal a line from the movie “Rocky IV” and apply it to Mike Wallace: “You can’t win!”

Mike Wallace can’t win, and won’t win this showdown with the Steelers.

The Steelers disgruntled wide receiver failed to show for the first day of training camp Wednesday, officially making him the first non-rookie holdout since Hines Ward seven years ago, and the Steelers aren’t happy about it.

Very out of character, Mike Tomlin voiced his displeasure a number of times during his opening press conference.

“Obviously on a not so positive note, Mike Wallace isn’t here …”

“He’s not here today and that’s unfortunate for him …”

“This group who are the Pittsburgh Steelers will continue to push on …”

“When he shows up, he shows up …”

“I won’t focus on him until he gets here …”

And who can blame the Steelers?

The two sides were making significant progress with contract negotiations, but with Wallace deciding to hold out, everything has come to a screeching halt.

Whoever is giving Wallace advice isn’t helping his cause whatsoever.

Nothing can and will be accomplished by holding out … at least nothing positive.

First and foremost, Wallace isn’t going to intimidate the Steelers at all. So if that is his plan of why he is deciding to hold out, he’s misguided.

If the Steelers shut off Ward in 2005 when he held out, I am sure they won’t blink when it comes to Wallace.

And it is safe to say that Wallace won’t win any popularity contests with the fans.

There’s no worse recipe for disaster to a player’s public persona that to quibble over money. Pittsburgh fans won’t stand for it.

Wallace has put himself in a lose-lose situation, and he didn’t have to.

There is nothing good that can, and will, come out of holding out, and the longer it goes on, the worse it’s going to get.

It’s likely that Wallace will show up by the beginning of the week meaning that his mini-holdout was just to reinforce his displeasure.

But now, it’s not good for both parties involved, and Wallace has nobody to blame for that except himself.


Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug


  1. SteelerFanatic says:

    He must not know how the Steelers get down..we don’t negotiate with terrorist! Teams gona move on with or without him!

  2. bill wolfe says:

    when will mIKE wALLCE WAKE UP and get into camp. No player has ever got the best of the steelers front office. THey know what is a good offer and they just dont give in. They should look into trading him off to a team that isnt going anywhere. In pgh there is always the chance of winning another SUPER BOWL.

  3. nellieh says:

    I couldn’t disagree more. He will report. When, it really doesn’t matter. Tomlin got his and he doesn’t think Wallace should get his? He will sign the tender and show up. This is no crisis for Wallace or the Steelers. A mountain out of a mole hill.

  4. jimd says:

    Hines Ward gave Mr. Wallace good advice on what to do. Hines learned from experience, he reported to camp and got his contract. Mike could have saved himself allot of grief just by signing his tender (I’d sign for 2.4 million) and then the Steelers will try to get him the best deal possible. They as much said they want him long term.
    Whoever is advising him does not konw the Steeler way. They won’t trade him and he could end up in the same boat next year with the franchise tag. The longer he waits the less chance he has of getting a big contract. Foolish on his part.

  5. John G says:

    This seems to happen all the time regarding players contracts throughout the league.
    I honestly don’t know why playing for an established winning team never seems to outweigh a huge contract with a non winning team. If anybody knows the Steelers method they would not do this. I remember a couple of times through the years (don’t remember the players names) but a few times an average player with an average contract would perform better then expected and the Steelers would voluntarily offer to re-nogatiate that players contract before it was up because their performance was better than expected and their previous salary was based on them being an average player at best. Also remember a few years back the unfortunate Gabe Rivera incident and Bob Costas on the then NFL pre-game show doing a portion on the pre-game show about it about a year after it happened. I don’t remember the exact details about his contract but again this was a case as Costas pointed out at the end of this special report where in spite of his contract the Steelers were not required to pay a certain portion of the contract due to his paralyzing injury off the field but did.
    I always say for all the fans of other teams out there who do not like the Steelers for whatever reason they at least in my opinion do things the right way from the days of Chuck Noll and higher up management to the current days of Mike Tomlin and current higher up management.

  6. David Brock says:

    Mike Wallace is under contract, so thereinlies an obligation to report to camp as it says on said player contract, as of now, Mike Wallace is for all intense purposes, is in breach of said player contract. Wallace needs to look at that from a legal stand point or in the long run, lose monetary compensation and or gains that come with what a more thoughtout process would reward him with, ….. people say his play dropped of at the end of the year but we all must look at the fact that teams and defenses were keying on him too, which does infact open opputunities for other players to be open. My advice to Wallace, Pittsburgh has been patient, and showed good faith and good intentions by NOT reducing your tender by 200%, so, go to camp, and let the chips fall, you are still under contract for the 2012 season…. and I can’t wait for it to start…. Here we go Steelers, here we go!

  7. David Brock says:

    ………. one last snippet… Wallace, the Steelers can win without you, but you can not win without the Steelers plus other teams are watching you!…… long term cry babies do not win Mike… there are a couple of your peers who you can draw from this fact from…. you will become a journey man if you keep following this path your on!….. your good, but your not irreplaceable….

  8. Rondo says:

    D Brock – Wallace is not under contract. In fact, he will not even be permitted to practice at camp until he either signs the tender offer or works out a new contract. Other than that, I agree with the other things that you said.

  9. Mike says:

    To David Brock.

    Mike Wallace is not currently under contract. He has been tendered an offer at $2.7M, but as long as it remains unsigned he is not in breach of contract.

    However, I agree that his best option is to sign the tender and report to camp. The two sides were on their way to negotiating a long-term deal and the Steelers have a history and reputation as following through, despite the leverage given up by signing the one year tender.

  10. Dom Onofrio says:

    If Wallace holds out, and sighs his tender offer late, he needs to active for six games to count for the season. Well if he holds out too long I would not even let him take the field for those six games. Mike how would that help you as an unrestricted free agent, if you did not play for a whole season. He is a good player, but not the best player ever to walk on to a football field.

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