Ben Roethlisberger says the Steelers’ passing game needs receiver Mike Wallace, but he’s not worried about Wallace’s status as an unsigned free agent, because he’s confident that Wallace will be signed and ready to play before the season starts.
Roethlisberger told 93.7 the Fan in Pittsburgh that he called Wallace on August 1, his 26th birthday, and heard exactly what he hoped to hear: Wallace says he’s staying in shape and getting ready for the regular season, even though he’s not doing it in training camp.
“I talked to Mike several days back. It was his birthday, I gave him a call to wish him happy birthday and see how he was doing,” Roethlisberger said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “Mike’s training hard. He’s training with his helmet on just like he would be here. So he’s doing a lot of things. And without getting into the details of all the things I don’t want to get involved with, I have confidence he’ll be here and ready to go for the season.”
Roethlisberger said being away from camp is killing Wallace, because he desperately wants to be there with his teammates, and that anyone who thinks Wallace isn’t a team player — or that Wallace isn’t a player the Steelers’ offense needs — is completely wrong.
“They’re crazy. No offense, but they’re crazy,” Roethlisberger said of Steelers fans who don’t think the team needs Wallace. “I can’t say enough how good of a teammate he is. And that’s the most important thing when you have as many young guys as we have on our team. And Mike’s a little older and has been doing it for several years. Everyone talks about how great Antonio Brown is — and he is — but the reason Antonio is going to get open — not the only reason — but one of the reasons Antonio is going to get open is because Mike is stretching the field. Any time that Mike is on the field, he commands two guys.”
With the Steelers’ opener at Denver one month away, Roethlisberger sounds confident that Wallace will be stretching the field again soon.