Mike Wallace's holdout has now reached historic proportions, but that doesn't mean he won't have a huge season in 2012.
According to Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wallace is now the first Steeler player to hold out for the entirety of training camp since rookie tight end Eric Green in 1990. Green missed the first four games of the season that year.
For what it's worth, fellow wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders feels that Wallace could come back soon (via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com):
"There's a little buzz around the team that he'll be coming back pretty soon... I don’t know the exact date, but it’s looking pretty good.”
Whether or not Wallace decides to end his holdout before the preseason is over or not, Steeler fans should not be worried. Wallace will have a successful season as long as he is back to the team by the time the regular season starts.
That isn't to say that training camp and the preseason games don't mean anything—they do. Just not to a player like Wallace.
Wallace is a receiver who largely succeeds because of his large frame and vertical speed—two attributes that he won't be losing because he hasn't been with the team before the season. While it may take some time to develop the chemistry between Ben Roethlisberger and Wallace necessary to connect on timing routes like quick slants and outs, the deep ball is where Wallace thrives.
Of Wallace's 72 catches last season, 18 of them were for 20 or more yards. That means that a quarter of his receptions were of the "big play" variety. As long as the Steelers are able to set up the long ball, Wallace will do his thing.
Given that Roethlisberger set a personal record for passing attempts in a season (513) last year, the continued improvement of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders and an offensive coordinator who loves to throw the ball around in Todd Haley, there should be no shortage of opportunities for Wallace to stretch the field.
As long as Wallace is in shape and can run one of the fastest go routes in the entire league, he will continue to be a threat in the Steelers offense.
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