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After tough start, Mike Wallace still believes he fits with Ravens

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Mike Wallace's first Baltimore Ravens training camp didn't start off like he had envisioned. He flunked the team's conditioning test after he reported Wednesday and missed the first practice of camp. A couple of days later, he received some tough love from coach John Harbaugh, who ran up to Wallace after he dropped a pass Sunday.

Still, Wallace was all smiles in talking to reporters, reiterating that he made the right decision to sign with the Ravens in free agency.

"It's just this style of offense fits what I want to do," Wallace said. "I love all of my teammates and never had a problem with anybody ever, but sometimes in football, you get in situations that you can't control. Sometimes it works to your strengths, and sometimes it doesn't. I just look at this offense as one that allows me to maximize my strengths."

After Harbaugh went up to him, Wallace was the best wide receiver on the field for the Ravens. He caught a couple of touchdowns in the red zone and made several grabs on underneath routes.

Wallace is already running with the starters alongside Kamar Aiken. The Ravens are relying on Wallace in camp because Steve Smith Sr. (Achilles) and Breshad Perriman (knee) are on the physically unable to perform list.

"I thought he looked good today. He made a few catches," Harbaugh said. "I don't think we saw any deep ones, so we're still looking for those. Maybe that's a credit to our secondary as well, getting on top of those things. I thought he had a good practice."

Wallace acknowledged that it was frustrating to fail the conditioning test and he was surprised by the difficulty of it. The test is six timed sprints, and Wallace came up short when he successfully completed all but the last one. He eventually passed the test and was on the field Friday after one missed practice.

"Anybody who comes here, I advise them that they better be ready for that test," Wallace said. "That's got to be the toughest conditioning test in the league."

Wallace's work ethic has been questioned in the past. In 2014, there was a report that teammates were angry that Wallace pulled himself out of the regular-season finale and refused to play the second half. Wallace later said he didn't play because of a coaching decision.

With the Ravens, Wallace is typically one of the last players out on the field. After practice, he heads to the JUGs machine to catch passes and work on his hands.

"I have no problems with his work ethic," wide receivers coach Bobby Engram said. "I think he was a little frustrated by not making the [conditioning] test. It is a tough test, but I think he learned a lesson."

This is a prove-it year for Wallace. He went from making $9.85 million in 2015 with the Minnesota Vikings to what could be a one-year, $5.75 million deal (including $4.5 million signing bonus) with the Ravens.

There are questions whether Wallace has lost a step at age 30. He is coming off a season in which he produced career lows in receiving yards (473), yards per catch (12.1) and touchdown catches (two). His longest reception from Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is known to have limited arm strength, was 34 yards.

With a change of scenery and quarterbacks, Wallace feels like he can get his career back on track in Baltimore.

"Just seeing Joe [Flacco] is like, 'This guy is really good,'" Wallace said. "The play-calling is just aggressive, and that's what I was looking for."