Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace isn't required to attend organized team activities, commonly known as OTAs. With the health risks of playing in the NFL becoming more apparent every day, Wallace can't be blamed for trying to get as much money as he can now rather than later.
However, it sure would help the Steelers if he were on the field learning Todd Haley's offense.
Steelers fans can't forget the image of Wallace with his arms spread out as if to ask, "What do I do?" during the Steelers' final drive of Super Bowl XLV.
It was on 2nd-and-5 from the Steelers' 33 with 1:08 left and the Steelers trailing the Green Bay Packers 31-25. Ben Roethlisberger and Mewelde Moore tried to shout instructions to Wallace, but it was futile in noisy Cowboys Stadium. Wallace didn't run the right route on the play, and Roethlisberger had to throw the ball away and waste a down.
Wallace's lack of preparation is one of the reasons the Steelers couldn't duplicate the magic of their game-winning drive in Super Bowl XLIII.
Emmanuel Sanders was injured earlier in the game. That shifted the roles and assignments of the other Steelers' receivers, and Wallace apparently only knew the parts of the playbook that were designed for him.
Now the Steelers have a new offensive coordinator in Haley and a new playbook to learn, and Wallace doesn't seem like a quick study.
Even though Wallace isn't at OTAs, he has the Steelers' new playbook, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Fellow Steelers receiver Antonio Brown says Wallace is studying the playbook, but can we be sure about that?
Does Mike Wallace's absence from OTAs hurt the Steelers?
If Wallace didn't study the playbook closely enough to know a few extra plays in case another receiver was injured in the Super Bowl, it's hard to imagine him studying it in May.
Maybe there's not all that much for Wallace to learn in Haley's offense. He's made a living beating defensive backs deep with his blazing speed. Perhaps "go long" is all he needs to know.
However, you'd think that for the Steelers' offense to become better and more efficient, Haley would ask Wallace to add a couple of routes to his repertoire.
Learning Haley's new playbook is essentially like taking a class. The time between now and opening day is about the same time as a semester in college. OTAs are the first exercise in the Steelers' coursework, and Wallace already is falling behind.