Pittsburgh Steelers training camp started on Wednesday and as expected, there was one major thing missing- wide receiver Mike Wallace.
Talks between the Steelers and unsigned restricted free agent Wallace have broken off, and the Steelers don’t plan to talk contract until the wide receiver reports to camp, a source told ESPN senior NFL writer John Clayton on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, according to the source, contact between the sides was minimal as they hoped a break in the talks would create a fresh chance of resolution. But with Wallace not reporting for the start of Steelers camp Wednesday afternoon, Pittsburgh isn’t planning to do much more in trying to resolve the dispute, the source said.
The Steelers had a Wednesday deadline of 3 p.m. ET to report to training camp. With Wallace not under contract, the team won’t have the ability to fine him.
Wallace caught 72 passes for 1,193 yards and eight passing touchdowns last season, all team highs. In three seasons, he has 171 catches for 3,206 yards and 24 TDs, but his production really tailed off the second-half of the 2011 season.
He skipped all of the team’s offseason workouts and has not signed his $2.7 million first-round tender. The Steelers have the franchise tag available after the season if Wallace plays out this year under the one-year restricted tender, but they’ve re-itterated all along that they have all intentions of signing the speedy wide receiver to a long-term extension.
However for Mike Tomlin, it’s business as usual as his team reported to camp for the first time.
“Obviously, we have a desire for him to be here,” Tomlin said via ESPN. “We want him to be part of this thing, both short term and long term. We’ve been in negotiations with him. He’s not here today. That’s unfortunate for him.”