- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Another twist surfaced as Mike Wallace's holdout nears a third day: the Steelers wide receiver is reportedly the one calling the shots.
Sources told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that it was Wallace's idea to hold out of training camp and not his agent, Bus Cook. According to the paper, this has led the Steelers to take a different approach with their No. 1 wide receiver.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert confirmed that the team has stopped negotiations with Wallace on a long-term deal and its last offer is now off the table.
I still think a deal can get done between Wallace and the Steelers before the start of the regular season, but this recent downward spiral in negotiations has certainly created some doubt that this will be resolved quickly. This has become a high-priced game of chicken, in which one side is going to have to back down. Right now, it doesn't look like the Steelers are going to give an inch until Wallace signs his $2.7 million tender.
"Him not being here, really we have to focus on what we can control because we can't control that," Colbert said. "Again, every negotiation is unique, you put your best foot forward. If it's not suitable for both parties, you have to adjust, and we're really in adjust-move-forward-mode right now."
Both sides made their best power plays this week. Because no team showed any interest in him in restricted free agency, Wallace's only move to gain any sort of leverage was holding out. Because the Steelers can't discipline or fine Wallace (he isn't under contract until he signs his tender), the team's only move to force him to report was to suspend talks.
According to Colbert, the Steelers will answer the phone from his agent, but they won't be making any calls to him. It looks like the only way this stalemate will end is if Wallace shows up at St. Vincent College.
"Yeah, we have to move on," Colbert said. "We have to prepare with the 89 guys who are here. You have to, you can't focus on who isn't here because you lose track of what you're supposed to be doing."