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If Wallace reports, he won't play in preseason

| Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, 7:26 p.m.
Christopher Horner
If he signs his contract tender and reports to camp, Steelers receiver Mike Wallace won't be allowed to play in preseason games, per the NFL labor agreement. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Mike Wallace's preseason is effectively over even before it started.

If the holdout wide receiver reports to the Steelers and signs his $2.742 million tender Sunday or Monday, as his teammates believe he will, he still must sit out three days under the NFL labor agreement. That would keep him out of the final preseason game Aug. 30 against Carolina and prevent him from practicing until Labor Day weekend.

According to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Wallace already has an understanding of Todd Haley's new offense, despite not being with the team since last season.

“I talked to him today. He's excited. We're excited,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “He's been working, and he's been working not just on his conditioning and strength but working through the offense. If he's been putting the work in he's telling me he's been doing, he'll be fine.”

• LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison missed a combined 11 games last season. With Harrison recovering from a knee operation, there's a chance he won't play Week 1 in Denver. “You have to be worried about the guys who are going to be here playing with you,” Woodley said. “We still have to play on Sept. 9. You would love to have James back, but if he's not back, guys like Chris Carter are prepared to go out there and play. I think he's going to do a great job.”

• Ryan Clark, fined $40,000 last season for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens tight end Ed Dickson, said rule changes designed to reduce head injuries are making it increasingly difficult for defensive backs. Once, he said, defenders were taught that if you can't intercept a pass, try to dislodge the ball. “You still try to do that, but you do it differently,” Clark told NFL Network. “You can't go for the guy's head, you can't go for his neck. You have to try to adjust your aiming point, which is hard sometimes because if the offensive player does crouch or does lower his shoulder, it's still on the defensive player. … My wife is more upset about the fines, but I get more upset about the penalties.”

• The Steelers offensive linemen were talking recently about which of their positions is the most difficult and, to Ramon Foster, left tackle is the most critical and problematic. “Because you have a $100 million quarterback (Roethlisberger), I'm going to go with left tackle,” Foster said. “All of them are equally different. All of them have their own difficulties. You just have to respect the work load that you have and go out and do your job.”

— Alan Robinson

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