Rooney to Wallace: 'He should be here'
Veteran Brett Keisel watches rookies go through defensive line drills Wednesday on the second day of the Steelers minicamp.
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Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Wallace remains absent from the Steelers' three-day minicamp, and team president Art Rooney II had a message for him.
"He should be here," Rooney said Wednesday.
The Steelers have until Friday to either reduce or pull the one-year, $2.7 million offer they tendered Wallace, a restricted free agent, in March. But sources told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette they will not do that and will continue to try to sign him to a long-term contract.
There has been little, if any, movement in negotiations.
Coach Mike Tomlin said he isn't worried about Wallace missing the conditioning aspect of the offseason training activities and minicamp, but he also said he would prefer that his fourth-year receiver be here with the rest of his teammates.
"Mike has always been a guy who's in tip-top condition over a 12-month calendar since we had him," Tomlin said.
"He's a sharp guy. I'm sure he's working at the learning element of it. But there's no substitute for being here and being around your teammates and learning the nuances and learning from other people's mistakes.
"It's probably short-term misery. Hopefully, there will be some closure to this, and it will be in our rear-view mirror. Right now, he'd be better served if he were here working."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he speaks to Wallace and thinks he will be at training camp when the team reports July 25.
"I think he will be," Roethlisberger said.
"I don't know anything. I'm not behind the scenes. I do talk to Mike, I know Mike wants to be here bad but ... there's a lot of moving parts. I do anticipate him being here for training camp"
The Steelers added two veteran players to their offseason roster -- former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Brandon Johnson and seven-year NFL long snapper Matt Kafula.
To make room, the team released tight end Wes Lyons of West Virginia and placed wide receiver Connor Dixon of Duquesne University and South Park High School on the waived/injured list.
Johnson (6 feet 5, 245 pounds) spent the past four seasons with the Bengals as a backup linebacker in their nickel defense and special-teams player.
Kafula has appeared in 93 games with three teams, most recently with the Minnesota Vikings for the final five games last season. He also spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.
Running backs coach Kirby Wilson has been on the field for minicamp, driving around in a golf cart to reduce the amount of walking and standing on his feet.
He is recovering from severe burns sustained in a fire at his home Jan. 6.
"It's awesome," Roethlisberger said. "People who know Kirby, he has so much fight in him. I don't think anybody has a bigger heart than he does.
"Don't get confused because he's riding around in a cart all the time. He's still going to yell and scream. To me, I think it's great."
Rookie offensive left tackle Michael Adams got a lot of work with the first-team offense because Marcus Gilbert was given the day off to rest his injured shoulder.
First Published June 14, 2012 12:00 am