Taylor: Wallace steps up drills, will be greeted by open arms

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Receiver Mike Wallace continues to keep in touch with his Steelers teammates during his absence from training camp, and it appears he is ramping up his fitness activities.

One teammate close to Wallace said late last week he expects Wallace to report to the team "soon."

According to cornerback Ike Taylor, Wallace has relocated to Florida to work out with noted trainer Tom Shaw. Taylor said Wallace is staying at his Orlando residence and driving his car to and from workouts.

"I don't do that with too many people," Taylor said. "We're from the same area. If I can do anything to help out the team, the situation, I'll do it."

Wallace's agent, Bus Cook, has remained silent on his client's status throughout his absence from the team. He did not return a phone call again Tuesday.

Taylor said Wallace will not encounter any negativity from his teammates once he returns.

"He's working out," Taylor said. "He's working hard. Whenever he gets back, we're going to welcome him back with open arms. Mike is taking care of Mike right now. As long as he is working out and getting in football shape, that's all that matters."

Starks off PUP list

The Steelers activated offensive tackle Max Starks from the physically-unable-to-perform list Tuesday and placed running back John Clay on the waived/injured list.

Clay injured his hip and groin in practice Sunday. He was on the practice squad last season and activated to the 53-man roster for the final two regular-season games and the playoff at Denver. He had 10 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown in the regular season and one carry for 1 yard in the playoff.

The Steelers signed running back Jason Ford to take Clay's roster spot. Ford, an undrafted free agent from Illinois, had been in camp with Houston.

Starks is going through a two-day acclimation period and will be able to practice with the team Thursday. Coach Mike Tomlin said Starks could see some playing time against the Colts Sunday in the second preseason contest.

"It depends on how he looks over the course of the next four or five days," Tomlin said.

Running backs Jonathan Dwyer (shoulder) and Isaac Redman (groin) returned to practice but were limited.

Leftwich silent on hit

Quarterback Byron Leftwich does not want to talk about the illegal hit that Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie laid on him in the Thursday night preseason opener in Philadelphia.

Cromartie launched himself at Leftwich, hit him late and hit him high. He was flagged for a personal foul, and the NFL is expected to follow with a hefty fine.

"I'm not worrying about it," Leftwich said Tuesday. "I'm not thinking about it. I'm not hurt. In no way or form did he hurt me. I'll let them handle that the way they handle that.

"I don't want to say anything to get the guy fined. I'll let the league do that if they're going to fine him or not. It was an unfortunate play. We both hope, wish that we weren't in that situation answering questions about plays in a preseason game."

Cromartie this week told an interviewer he thought his hit was "clean." Leftwich doesn't remember the cornerback saying anything to him after the hit.

"There wasn't any trash talking," said Leftwich, who added he is not even sore from the hit. "I'm a big guy."

Peelle a happy camper

New tight end Justin Peelle was on the practice field with the Steelers for the first time Tuesday after being signed Monday to take the place of David Johnson, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in the preseason opener against the Eagles.

Peelle, a 10-year veteran who has played for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers, will compete with veteran Leonard Pope and rookie David Paulson to add depth behind starter Heath Miller.

"It was fun, good to be back on the field," he said. "I've been sitting on the couch and playing golf, so it was a nice little change."

Peelle is mainly known as a blocker, but he does have 123 career receptions.

"I can do a little bit of everything," he said. "I'm not going to catch you 100 balls, but I can do some things in the pass game and the run game. I just have to knock the rust off and be ready to play."


Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com.


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