DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08: Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs the ball for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday Steelers WR Mike Wallace will return to the scene of the crime.
Wallace, who's refused to sign his restricted free agency tender contract of $2.7 million for the 2012 season, will report to the Steelers and be available for their Week 1 game at Denver, according to Schefter. The last time Wallace put his pads on as a Steeler was in Denver for the AFC Wild Card playoffs at the end of the 2011 season.
He hasn't arrived at training camp, and with its conclusion coming Friday, obviously, he's not going to. The Steelers play Indianapolis Sunday, and have two more preseason games, at Buffalo Aug. 25 and vs. Carolina Aug. 30.
The season starts in Denver Sept. 9 on Sunday Night Football.
There was some uneasiness that Wallace would exercise his option of sitting out until Week 10 - the last week he could report to the team and still earn an accrued year of NFL service that counts toward free agency. Wallace is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2013. To get to that point, he has to play this season.
Wallace is the first long-running Steelers holdout since Hines Ward missed a portion of training camp in 2005 holding out for a new deal. The Steelers organization does not negotiate contracts if a player is not in training camp, and talks between Wallace and the team are said to have broken down with his holdout.
If this report is true, the question becomes how ready Wallace will be to play in Week 1. Emmanuel Sanders has been playing the X receiver position in Wallace's absence, and the jury is still out on how well he'll ultimately do there.
We perhaps may not get a chance to see that in live action, though.
Another question is how well-received Wallace will be by his teammates, the ones who sweat it out during training camp over the last few weeks. Many who have spoken on the topic acknowledge it's a business, and understand where he's coming from, but also suggest he should be working in camp as hard as he's working on his extension.