The Steelers practice facility was buzzing on Tuesday with Mike Wallace back in the fold, ending his holdout that covered the team’s OTAs, minicamp and training camp.
And those happiest to have Wallace back were his fellow wide receivers.
“Everyone is excited around here just to get him back,” said Emmanuel Sanders. “The dimension that Mike brings to the offense is the speed. He takes the top off the coverage for us.
“He is a big time playmaker around here. He has been doing that the past three years. We are excited to get him back. He is the last link for us to take off.”
Antonio Brown was energized to have Wallace back, knowing it helps the offense overall to have the speedy receiver as part of the arsenal.
“It definitely helps everyone’s cause with a guy like Mike, taking the top off defenses,” said Brown. “It opens us up. Mike can do so many things to get us open, draw coverage, help us get open underneath. It allows so many other things and options.
“It’s something special, knowing we have our guy back. We all need him here, working together, moving on in the right direction and chasing the Lombardi. He is going to be a key role in that.”
Another person who is going to benefit by Wallace’s return is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, giving him another weapon on the field.
“To have him here is another piece of the puzzle that completes it for us,” said Roethlisberger. “He is a fast guy that stretches the field for guys and gets other guys open and makes big plays for us.”
Wallace will have some catching up to do, but his teammates are happy to make sure he is right on schedule for opening day in Denver on Sept. 9.
“We are going to do the extra things we need to do to make sure he is ready,” said Brown. “If that is stay out after practice, we will do the necessary things to make sure when we go to Denver we are ready. It’s going to take a little bit of time and studying but that is why he is here. It’s just fun to have him back and see if we can get off to a great start.”
Wallace can’t practice for three days, ruling him out for the preseason finale against Carolina on Thursday night, and giving him only a week to prepare for the Denver game. But teammates are confident he will be ready.
“I feel like he is going to do everything necessary that he has to do,” said Sanders. “The coaches are going to work with him hard to get him caught up.
“It’s a new playbook. There are some similar things he will be able to pick up on. He is not familiar with the concepts, but he will get caught up fast and coach will do an exceptional job getting him caught up. I think he will be ready by Denver. No question about it.”
There was no dissension among the ranks, with the players understanding Wallace’s situation and welcoming him back with open arms.
“We understand. That is the business part,” said Sanders. “We missed his personality in the offensive room. Ever since I have been here he has been in that meeting room. It’s been different, but everyone is glad he is back. The Young Money Crew is back. We are looking forward to that. It’s going to be fun.”
And speaking of fun, right after Wallace arrived at the facility linebacker James Harrison had some fun snagging Wallace for the first exclusive interview, which he posted on his Twitter account, @jharrison9292.
“We are friends before anything else and he wanted to talk to a friend first, so I was there for him,” said Harrison. “We talked a little bit and then he gave me the first exclusive.”
Don’t look for Harrison to change professions and join the media ranks, though.
“I don’t like putting cameras in people’s faces,” said Harrison. “It’s not me. But you have to first hear it from James Harrison.”
Tags: Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Emmanuel Sanders, James Harrison, Mike Wallace
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