Pittsburgh Steelers Minicamp: Some Early Thoughts on Important Session

May 4, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (left) gestures as he takes the field for drills during rookie minicamp and orientation. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

It may not be compelling, but at least it's formal.

The Steelers begin their 2012 Minicamp today with two practices. Two more will follow Wednesday followed by one to wrap up the session Thursday.

This time of the year, headlines are usually questions more than statements. While this practice session will likely create more questions than answers, there are a few we can glean a foggy outline of an answer.

Will WR Mike Wallace sign his RFA tender?

The deadline is Thursday. Odds are very good he'll be in town, but he won't practice. Or at least that's what we've been led to believe. Wallace has until Friday, June 15, to sign his tender, or risk the Steelers exercising their CBA-given right to reduce the tender and make an offer of 110 percent of his 2011 salary, which would equate to a one-year offer for $577,000. His tender is worth $2.7 million, give or take a few dollars.

Obviously, that's in place to help get players into training camp, which indirectly shows the value of minicamp. While it's unlikely the Steelers will exercise that option (it wouldn't help the negotiation, to put it mildly and almost assuredly would keep Wallace out even longer), it does show good faith on their part they're willing to work with him.

As for Wallace, he's seeking a long-term deal, and since he won't be fined for missing minicamp, he's really the last piece of leverage he has. The Steelers typically ask players to negotiate in good faith, and part of that means showing up and working with the team. Wallace can see multiple Steelers players getting extensions signed early into training camp (last year, SS Troy Polamalu, LB Lawrence Timmons and LB LaMarr Woodley all signed during camp), and if Wallace does have a future in Pittsburgh, that seems to be the best time to do it.

We'll see how this plays out.

Willie Colon at left guard

Scott Brown of the Tribune-Review has a nice piece in today's paper about Colon, his transition from right tackle to left guard, and his relationship with former Steelers All-World LG Alan Faneca when Colon was a rookie.

Learning from one of the best is certainly a benefit, but Colon is the experienced one now. With a body built more for a guard, but overall skills that helped him become one of the best run-side tackles in the game, it's exciting to think about the prospect of having such a talented interior offensive line.

It's been a while, that's for sure.

The development of the offense

The running back position seems to be the early favorite for attention-grabbing news. Isaac Redman's starting role, Rashard Mendenhall's rehabilitation project, Chris Rainey vs. Baron Batch, John Clay's position, Jonathan Dwyer's weight. Lots of headlines to go around.

Mix with that the emerging Young Money receivers (two of them anyway) Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, and how they'll look entering their third year of NFL service. Expecting father Ben Roethlisberger, and how he's adapting to the offense.

All great talking points for the next few days.


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