Steelers WR Mike Wallace was met with all the glory appointed to Caesar Tuesday, the 34th day of his absence from the team's preseason and training camp activities. Teammates were reportedly excited, and understandably so.
A big part of the reason there was a Wallace War as opposed to a Wallace Conflict was simply because Wallace said absolutely nothing to the media in regards to his situation.
Clearly he was well-coached by Bus Cook, his agent. It's a smart move, too. Outside of close friend Ike Taylor speaking for him a few times, and an alleged quote that surfaced about Wallace "wanting Fitzgerald money," Wallace kept nearly silent this off-season.
He spoke with the media Tuesday, and it seems curious he chose that point to create shadows of doubt over his conditioning.
Outside of joke Q/A sessions with FS Ryan Clark and OLB James Harrison, Wallace was asked by reporters about the kind of shape he's in.
Wallace mentioned he may not be in football shape because there's nothing that gets you in football shape except, you know, playing football.
"There's nothing like football shape," he told reporters Tuesday. "The first few days, maybe I'll be a little more tired than the rest of the guys, but not because I'm not in shape, but because it's different with pads on."
Wait a minute. What do you mean by "It's different with pads on?"
Of course it's different with pads on. Did you think they did away with pads this offseason?
Perhaps it was too much to ask that he run down to Dick's Sporting Goods and pick up a helmet (I customized a helmet at Dick's Sporting Goods online, assuming Wallace is a large, size 7-1/8, it cost $119.99, with free shipping), and shoulder pads (Douglas RB/QB/WR pads for $99.99).
Is $219.98 too much to ask a pro football player who's skipping training camp to invest so while he's apparently getting in great shape (his words) he can simulate the conditions he'll be playing in as closely as what's realistically possible?
If it's an image thing, and he doesn't want to be seen wearing shells and a helmet while he goes through conditioning drills, Dick's has a weight vest with varying amounts of weighted inserts for $89.99 (plus $17.59 shipping for a grand total of $107.58).
Certainly he could shop around, too.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger mentioned, to him, it's about how he's been working out mentally, and how much time he's been spending on the playbook. It's a fair question. He skipped vital components of his physical workout, which would seem on par with him only reviewing running plays, or perhaps he studied the fullback position.
Alas, it's too late for any of that. If 10 days is enough for him to work hard, have the playbook down on a level commiserate with his teammates and be able to run at the speed that put him in a position to demand a contract extension in the first place, then good for him.
If it's not, though, there's going to be hell to pay. But at least he saved $107.58.