Mike Wallace was on the sidelines during the Steelers practice on Tuesday afternoon, taking mental reps but only allowed to be a spectator after he reported earlier in the day, ending his long holdout.
Wallace isn’t allowed to practice for three days, and he hopes to return to the field on Monday when the team begins preparation for the regular season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 9.
“I couldn’t even go on the field. That was a little different,” said Wallace. “I am here now, learning the plays. I get to at least see it. At home I couldn’t even see it. At least getting to watch those guys I am getting a couple of mental reps.
“I will be back on Monday hopefully and ready to roll.”
While he couldn’t practice, Wallace was happy just to be around his teammates and be back in football mode.
“That is the best feeling in the world, seeing all of the guys, all of the smiles, all of the sweat, all of that good stuff,” said Wallace. “I am ready to be back, ready to be with my teammates. I am ready to go.
“What I really feel like I missed is my teammates. I am not worried about everything else. Just being around football is what I missed. You have to be out there to run the plays, but I know the plays. I am not really worried about that. I had a lot of time so all I did was study my plays. I knew my plays. I just really missed being around my teammates and the atmosphere.”
Wallace said he decided to return to the team now because he felt like “my teammates need me,” as they prepare for the regular season.
“It’s time to get ready for the season,” said Wallace. “I felt like it was time to go. I am ready to roll, I am here. That is all that matters to me. I am not worried about why or nothing. Why, because my teammates need me here and it’s time to get prepared for the season.”
It’s going to take Wallace a few days once he is back at practice to get his body back in football shape, even though he definitely looked like he was in condition having spent time in Orlando working with trainer Tom Shaw.
“As far as conditioning-wise we have two weeks until the game,” said Wallace. “I have been working out, doing really good conditioning so that is not going to be a problem. Nothing is like getting in football shape. It’s a little different. The first couple of days I might be a little more tired than the rest of the guys, not because I am not in shape but because it’s different with the pads on. I will be ready when it’s time to go on Sunday night against Denver.”
Wallace, who has a one-year tender, was not focused on a long-term contract on Tuesday, just on being back with the team.
“That’s down the road,” said Wallace of signing a new deal. “Hopefully I can. I would love to be here. This is the team that drafted me and this is where I want to stay. I am not really worried about down the road. I am worried about playing football right now. That’s it. That’s really the only thing on my mind. You all might think I am just saying that, but that’s it. I am not worried about none of that. That was business. I am not on that right now. I am here to play football, that’s it. I am here with my teammates and happy to see the guys. There were a lot of smiles and a lot of love and that’s all that matters.”
Wallace said he has no regrets about how the holdout played out, and it was never about not wanting to be there for his teammates.
“I don’t dwell on the past,” said Wallace. “I am worried about right now, that’s it. I don’t have any regrets. Anything I do in life I don’t regret it. I am grown man, that’s what I do. Whatever I do, that’s what I did.
“The whole time, I never wanted to be away from my teammates. I love my teammates and I love the organization. I never once wanted to be away. But like I said, that’s the business side of it. We handled it the way we had to.”
Tags: Mike Wallace
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