The Steelers sent holdout wide receiver Mike Wallace another message: Play for Pittsburgh this year or don't play at all.
A team source told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Steelers have no intention of trading their Pro Bowl wide receiver at any point this season. In other words, Pittsburgh is telling Wallace that his only chance of getting a long-term deal this year is from the Steelers.
The Steelers were more than fair with Wallace when he missed the offseason workouts. The team gave him a playbook and didn't reduce his restricted free-agent tender from $2.72 million to $577,000 in June, when they could have done so under the collective bargaining agreement.
Since Wallace failed to report to training camp, the Steelers are no longer on friendly terms with the Pro Bowl wide receiver. Team officials continued the Steelers' policy of not negotiating with players during a holdout. Pittsburgh then signed wide receiver Antonio Brown to a long-term deal, showing they will spend money on players who report to camp. The Steelers are also resigned to the fact that Wallace wont report before the team leaves camp at St. Vincent College on Aug. 18.
This isn't major news because general manager Kevin Colbert said Wallace wasn't available for a trade. The big decision will come in about five weeks, when Wallace will either show up to play for the opener at Denver or extend his holdout into the regular season. He only has to be on the roster for six weeks to accrue a season and become eligible for unrestricted free agency next year. Of course, the Steelers could take a hard-line stance again and threaten to use the franchise tag on Wallace to keep him from free agency.