Some reports say holdout WR Mike Wallace will return to the Pittsburgh Steelers by Week 1 of the regular season.
If Steelers CB Ike Taylor -- a close friend of Wallace -- knows when the star wide receiver is coming back, he isn't telling.
“Honestly, I don't know,” Taylor said. “Time will tell. I don't know when he's coming back. Just whenever he does come back, I want him to be in shape.”
An ESPN report published Tuesday stated Wallace is expected to return by Week 1 of the regular season.
Additionally, a story in Tuesday's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review noted Wallace trained last week with speed and conditioning guru Tom Shaw at ESPN's Wide World of Sports at Disney near Orlando, Fla., stayed at Taylor's house and drove the Steelers' star cornerback's car.
Taylor said Tuesday at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., that he has talked to Wallace “a few times” and that he is working out.
“He's working hard,” Taylor said. “Whenever he gets back, we're going to congratulate him with open arms.”
When -- or if -- he returns to the team, it might not be with the lucrative long-term deal he desires. Wallace isn't happy about a one-year $2.7-million offer the Steelers tendered in March and the two sides were negotiating toward a long-term contract. But since he hasn't reported to camp, the Steelers broke off negotiations, per team policy.
Instead, the team signed third-year Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown to a five-year, $42.5 million extension last month.
The Steelers say Wallace, who enjoyed one of his best seasons last year with 72 receptions, 1,193 yards, and eight touchdowns, must sign the tender to begin practice and negotiation of a long-term deal. He has 171 receptions for 3,206 yards -- an average of almost 19 yards per catch -- and 24 touchdowns in three seasons.
“Mike is taking care of Mike right now,” Taylor said. “As long as he's working out, getting ready for football, that's all that matters.”
Apparently, Ike is taking care of Mike too.
For years, Taylor suggested Wallace work out with Shaw -- his personal trainer -- and the Steelers' speedy wide receiver finally took him up on the offer. Taylor, who, like Wallace, is a native of New Orleans, La., also made arrangements so the Steelers' wide receiver can use Taylor's house and car.
“I don't do that with too many people,” Taylor said. “He's from the city. We're from the same area. I told Mike, 'If you're going to go down there to work out, you ain't gotta worry about no car, you ain't gotta worry about no place to stay.'"
Now, Taylor's doing his part to make sure Wallace is ready once -- and if -- he returns to Pittsburgh.
“If I can do anything to help out the team and the situation, I'm going to do it,” Taylor said. “Mike said he's loving it. I just can't wait until he gets back.”
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