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Mike Wallace: "I definitely have big plans for myself and family."
Wide receiver Mike Wallace will not play against the Cleveland Browns, meaning he might have played his final game with the Steelers.
Wallace injured his hip/hamstring against the Cincinnati Bengals and did not practice all week. He was playing on a one-year tender worth $2.7 million after failing to agree on a contract extension with the Steelers during the offseason.
Wallace missed all the offseason workouts and training camp because of his contract holdout. He will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, meaning he is free to sign with another team
Curiously, this will be the first game Wallace has missed in his four years with the Steelers.
“I didn’t want to go out like that,” Wallace said today after practice. “I really wanted to end on high note. It’s unfortunate.”
The Steelers were never confident they could sign Wallace to a contract extension because they believed he wanted too much money. And, after signing Antonio Brown to a six-year, $42 million contract when Wallace did not report to training camp, it is unlikely that is going to change now.
It is also unlikely the Steelers will use a franchise tag on Wallace because that means they would have to pay him between $10 million and $11 million next season.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Wallace said about the possibility of returning to the Steelers. “I got big plans, no matter what the situation. I definitely got big plans for myself and my family. We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully everything will go in a positive manner.
“I definitely consider [returning]. It’s the team I’ve been on my whole career. I don’t know anything else. I love playing here.”
Wallace has looked more like his deep-threat self late in the season, catching 12 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns in the past three games. That’s an average of 18.3 yards per catch. Included in those 12 catches are receptions for 40 and 60 yards.
Wallace is tied for the team with lead with eight touchdown catches, giving him 32 for his career. That is more than any other Steelers player since 2009 (Rashard Mendenhall has 29).
“It’s disappointing,” Wallace said. “You always want to be with my teammates every single game. It’s kind of weird. This is the first game I ever missed since I’ve been here. It’s a little weird for me.”