Wallace will report to Steelers 0
Holdout Mike Wallace is set to join the Pittsburgh Steelers camp on Saturday. (Reuters)
Pittsburgh’s offence is about to get a major boost and a long-running drama will finally come to an end in the process.
Wide receiver Mike Wallace will end his holdout and report to the team on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported on Tuesday.
Wallace wants a long-term deal, but the team maintained he had to sign his $2.7-million US tender before they’d even discuss the matter.
Wallace has been working out while keeping in contact with his teammates and is expected to be ready for the Sept. 9 regular season opener in Denver.
The Pro Bowl receiver has 24 touchdowns and 171 receptions in three seasons and is one of the league’s most explosive players.
Since the Steelers do not traditionally hand out contracts during the regular season, the two sides will have only about two weeks to get an extension done.
The 26-year-old’s holdout was the longest since 1990 for the Steelers. He was upset the team inked fellow receiver Antonio Brown to a six-year, $42.5-million contract early in training camp
Pittsburgh’s defence will also get an upgrade for Week 1 with James Harrison, the club’s star linebacker, planning to suit up.
A.P. TO SIT TILL OPENER
Adrian Peterson’s rapid return from major knee surgery has been slowed a bit.
Though Peterson and head coach Leslie Frazier had said they wanted the running back to see some pre-season action before returning to the lineup in Week 1, Frazier changed course on Tuesday.
Peterson will now sit out the final two pre-season games.
“There are no setbacks. That’s not the reason we’re doing it,” Frazier said. “We just feel like more time with him in practice with some of the things that we’re doing and the progression of getting him ready for the season, it’s the right thing to do.”
Peterson had surgery on Dec. 30 to repair ACL and MCL tears.
The Vikings have yet to confirm Peterson will be ready for the opener against Jacksonville, but it would be a shock if he isn’t cleared.
“He’s been so far ahead in his rehab all along,” Frazier said.
“Even the things he’s doing in practice, there’s nothing that makes you feel like you have to pull back just from watching him move around. But the more things we can give to him in the time we have leading up to the season opener, the better.”
Frazier said Peterson supported the decision to hold him out this week.
BENSON BUSTIN' TO BATTLE BENGALS
Cedric Benson spent years going up against the Bengals only in practice.
Now he’s ready to knock heads with Cincinnati players for real.
Benson, the long-time Bengals running back, will play his first pre-season contest as a Packer against his former team on Thursday.
Signed only a week ago after four years in Ohio, where he rushed for the fifth-most yards in team history, Benson is saying the right things, but clearly is out to prove a point.
“It’s going to be fun, to say the least. It’ll be good just to go against that defence,” Benson told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“I’ve seen all those guys coming in, I’ve seen them work together, so it’ll be fun to put a licking on them.”
Benson is the main man with James Starks still out due to an injury and can help his cause by performing well.
The Bengals started to phase out Benson last season, perhaps because he has been prone to fumbling.
With Aaron Rodgers expecting more out of Green Bay’s running backs this season, Benson is going to need to hang on to the ball more often than he did for his previous club.
HASSELBECK PLAYS IT SMART
Matt Hasselbeck deserves to still be Tennessee’s starting quarterback, but he’s been around long enough to know how the pro game works and has accepted his fate.
The Titans named second-year man Jake Locker the starter on Monday even though Hasselbeck was rock solid last season and decent during this pre-season.
While he would have preferred to get the job, the veteran said he will instead support and assist the young signal-caller.
“I’ve been in his shoes. It’s an exciting thing for him to have the chance to help lead a franchise or help build a program and have a chance to be the guy under centre,” Hasselbeck told the Nashville City Paper.
“I’ll help and support him any way I can, and I’ll be happy to do it.”
Not sulking or being a bad teammate is a smart move.
After all, if Locker struggles, Hasselbeck could get another chance, or he might serve in a backup/mentor role for the next few years as his career winds down.
Plus, the Titans didn’t choose Locker out of the blue. The plan all along was to make him the starter at some point and Hasselbeck knew that when he signed with the team.