So Mike Wallace Wants to Play Hard Ball?

The deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets from other teams has expired, meaning that Steelers restricted free agent Mike Wallace’s rights revert to Pittsburgh.

By refusing to sign, Wallace is inviting other NFL teams to make the Steelers a trade offer.

All accounts are that the Steelers will say no, but the NFL Draft can bring up some crazy deals, so who knows? If someone is dumb enough to make a trade offer of Hershel Walker/Ricky Williams proportions, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin are likely smart enough to say yes.

Refusing to sign is the only card Wallace can play in hopes of getting a big payday now and if that’s his goal it makes sense to play it.

  • For another week.

Once the 2012 NFL Draft has ended Wallace’s stubbornness slips from shrewd to stupid. If Wallace really thinks he can play hard ball with the Steelers he is sorely mistaken. The franchise has weathered holdouts before and will do so again.

  • In 1983, Franco Harris, the franchise icon who authored the definitive play in Steelers history held out for more money.

Chuck Noll’s response was “Franco who?” Dan Rooney’s actions spoke far louder, and resulted in Franco finishing his career after 8 mediocre games in Seattle.

He held out the entire season while under contract and the Steelers traded him on draft day in 1989. (Unfortunately, they ended up taking Tom Ricketts with the extra pick….)

  • Barry Foster tried it too in 1993
He skipped mini-camp and held out during the beginning of training camp. He reported, and only after that did he get his new contract.
  • Even Hines Ward was not immune.

He held out in 2005. Dan Rooney did meet him in private, but the message was clear: Show up and we’ll start talking. The lesson is clear. If the Steelers didn’t flinch when face to face with two franchise icons, they won’t do it for a budding receiver who is gaining a reputation for having attitude issues.

Ah Those Attitude Issues….

A few weeks back, the Watch Tower noted that Ed Bouchette had cited attitude issues for the drop off in Wallace’s production in 2011. Steel Curtain Rising asked him about this in a PG+ Chat, and Bouchette doubled down. As did Gerry Dulac.

Len Pasquarelli also wrote a similar article.

Mike Wallace is an amazing talent, and attitude is not going to prevent him from finding the payday he seeks. But if he thinks he can force that to happen in Pittsburgh he’s in for a surprise.

Thanks for visiting. Click here for the rest of Steel Curtain Rising or here to see our Steelers 2012 Free Agent Focus.

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