PITTSBURGH – Mike Wallace sat in his usual spot in the corner of the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room and decided it was time to hold court.
Hey, it’d been awhile for the leader of the self-proclaimed “Young Money Family.”
The Pro Bowl wide receiver posed for the cameras alongside teammates Antonio Brown, Chris Rainey, Jerricho Cotchery and Ike Taylor while flashing a smile and cracking jokes, business as usual for one of the NFL’s fastest playmakers.
It was almost as if Wallace’s lengthy holdout – one that finally came to an end on Tuesday – never happened. Maybe because that’s the way Wallace prefers it.
“I’m not dwelling on the past,” Wallace said. “I have no regrets.”
He also still doesn’t have the long-term deal he covets.
Instead, the 26-year-old restricted free agent will play under the one-year, $2.7 million tender offered by the Steelers and hope something lengthier gets worked out before the regular season begins next week. As a rule the Steelers (No. 7 in the APPro32) don’t negotiate contracts during the season.
Wallace, who caught a career-high 72 passes for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns last season, remains optimistic an agreement can be reached sometime before Pittsburgh faces Denver on Sept. 9.
“This is the team that drafted me and it’s where I want to stay,” Wallace said. “I’m not really worried about down the road. I’m worried about playing football. ... That was business. I’m not on that right now. I’m here to play football and that’s it.”
Even if Wallace won’t be able to actually practice until next week under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Still, Wallace believes he’ll be ready to face the Broncos even if it means cram sessions getting up to speed on new offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s complex system.
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Redskins cut Cooley
WASHINGTON – The Washington Redskins cut ties with one of the most productive and popular players in their history Tuesday when they released tight end Chris Cooley.
Cooley joined the Redskins in 2004 as a third-round draft pick from Utah State. Amid frequent turnover of coaches and starting quarterbacks, the Redskins won only one playoff game during Cooley’s tenure. But he had 428 catches, a franchise record for a tight end, for 4,703 yards and 33 touchdowns. He was selected to two Pro Bowls.
Cooley had only eight catches in five games last season before he was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list with a broken finger and an ailing knee. Cooley declared his knee sound this year during training camp. But the Redskins have Fred Davis – who was putting together a big season in 2011 before he was suspended for the final four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy – and has moved Niles Paul, a rookie wide receiver last season, to tight end.
The Redskins also released kicker Graham Gano, replacing him with Billy Cundiff.
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Around the league
• The Saints practiced on the Bengals’ grass fields in downtown Cincinnati on a sunny, 87-degree afternoon while Hurricane Isaac bore down on New Orleans. The Saints played the entire 2005 season away from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region.
• Brian Westbrook will retire as a member of the Eagles today and will be honored during a game against Washington in December. The former All-Pro running back played eight of his nine seasons with Philadelphia (2002-09) and is the franchise leader with 9,785 yards from scrimmage. He ranks second in yards rushing (5,995), and third in receptions (426) and total TDs (68).