Any time that Pittsburgh Steelers Team President Art Rooney II talks, it is usually news worthy. Rooney II, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, said Wednesday in regard to restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace, “He should be here.”
When NFL Total Access reported those four words Wednesday evening on their broadcast, they said take them for what they are worth. What were they worth? What message was Rooney II trying to send with those four words, and exactly what context were they used in? He obviously knew the statement would make news, but without additional words attached to the statement, you have to wonder what good it was to say them.
Was it merely that Rooney was trying to voice his displeasure that Wallace still has yet to sign his one-year tender? It sounds that way as reported by Dulac. He certainly could not think by just uttering those four words that Wallace would pick up the phone and book the next flight to Pittsburgh. It certainly did nothing to heat up contract negotiations, which by all appearances seem to have stalled. So what was the use in saying them?
Despite all of the speculation, nobody outside the organization knows what the contractual demands of Wallace are and what the Steelers have offered him thus far. Sure we have all heard that Wallace is rumored to be asking for Larry Fitzgerald type money, but that has never been substantiated outside of the report made by San Francisco 49ers beat writer Matt Barrows. Wallace, nor his agent Bus Cook, have disclosed what type of money the receiver is looking for. The only other thing close to a demand that we have to go on are the words of Ike Taylor, who claims that Wallace told him that he wants his paper.
The Steelers organization has said all along that their priority this off-season was to get a long-term deal done with Wallace. They want him Pittsburgh and Wallace wants to remain in Pittsburgh as well. The June 15th deadline will pass as if it is just another Friday, as the Steelers will reportedly not exercise their right to lower the tender offer to Wallace. Nothing good would come out of that anyway and they never have given any indication that it was ever in their plans.
Despite everything that has not happened so far, and there has been a lot of that, the Steelers brass is still confident that a long-term deal will get done. The only real question now is when. After the Thursday mini-camp practice concludes, the next stop is training camp. At that time we should expect Rooney II to say, “He should be here,” or “Glad he is here.”
So what are those four words worth that Rooney II said on Wednesday? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.