New re­ceiver Wallace bounces back from failed con­di­tion­ing test

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— Train­ing camp didn’t be­gin ac­cord­ing to plan for Mike Wallace. He felt like a child be­ing pun­ished as he was forced to watch his new team’s first prac­tice.

The re­cently ac­quired vet­eran wide re­ceiver failed the Bal­ti­more Ravens’ con­di­tion­ing test be­fore camp be­gan. He would not al­lowed to prac­tice un­til he passed it.

“Any­time you have to watch some­body else play, and I have to ex­er­cise in­side like a lit­tle kid, that’s no fun,” Wallace said. “The older kids are out­side play­ing, and I have to stay in­side.”

Wallace passed the fol­low­ing day and has been a full par­tic­i­pant since the sec­ond prac­tice. He’s played for four NFL teams in his ca­reer, but said that Bal­ti­more’s con­di­tion­ing test was the tough­est he’s faced.

“That’s in the past. I passed. It’s a tough test. Any­body who comes here, I ad­vise them that they bet­ter be ready for that test. That’s got to be the tough­est con­di­tion­ing test in the league,” he said. “It kind of sur­prised me how hard it was. You think about it and you think, ‘Al­right, I’ve been work­ing out four or five days a week. I’m

OWINGS MILLS

go­ing to breeze this test.’ You get out there, and it’s a lot tougher on the legs.”

Wide re­ceivers coach Bobby En­gram didn’t read too far into Wallace’s failed test.

“I have no prob­lems with his work ethic,” he said. “I think he was a lit­tle frus­trated by not mak­ing the test. It is a tough test, but I think he learned a les­son. Hav­ing this many years un­der his belt, you can still learn as a player of things you can do bet­ter. I’m ex- cited to have him here.”

Wallace had his best prac­tice as a Raven on Sun­day. Af­ter drop­ping a pass early, he re­ceived a few words of en­cour­age­ment from head coach John Har­baugh.

Wallace went on to catch a pair of touch­down passes from quar­ter­back Joe Flacco.

“I thought he looked good today,” Har­baugh said. “He made a few catches. I don’t think we saw any deep ones, so we’re still look­ing for those. Maybe that’s a credit to our se­condary as well, get­ting on top of those things.”

Wallace’s speed makes him the deep threat that the Ravens lacked a sea­son ago. The former Pitts­burgh Steeler, who spent two years with the Miami Dol­phins be­fore play­ing last sea­son with the Min­nesota Vik­ings, chose to join Bal­ti­more over other in­ter­ested teams partly be­cause of Flacco’s strong arm.

Wallace took part in or­ga­nized team ac­tiv­i­ties and mini­camp, but was un­able to de­velop on-field chem­istry with his new quar­ter­back as Flacco sat out to re­hab last year’s knee in­jury.

Af­ter three prac­tices with Flacco, Wallace knows he made the right de­ci­sion to join the Ravens.

“It’s been great so far. Joe is a re­ally good guy, calm guy, easy to talk to and un­der­stand. He’s just a vet guy. He has a big arm and, I see it ev­ery day in prac­tice. I’m ex­cited about it,” he said. “The play-call­ing is just ag­gres­sive, and that’s what I was look­ing for.”

The ag­gres­sive play call­ing is done by sec­ond-year of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Marc Tres­man. Adapt­ing to a new play caller is an an­nual chal­lenge for Wallace.

The Steel­ers switched of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tors in be­tween his last two sea­sons in Pitts­burgh. He played for dif­fer­ent co­or­di­na­tors in his two sea­sons with the Dol­phins, and the move to Min­nesota meant yet an­other play caller.

“I’ve never had a prob­lem with that, hon­estly. This is my sixth of­fense in six years,” Wallace said. “Schemes can only change so much. Names change, but at the end of the day, there’s only so many plays you can run in foot­ball. I just have to get the ter­mi­nol­ogy down.”

His latest of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor said Wallace is learn­ing the of­fense as quickly as he hoped he would.

“His at­ti­tude is out­stand­ing. He’s in the process of learn­ing this of­fense and he’s right on sched­ule to do that,” Trest­man said.

Fol­low Sean Gro­gan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

Bal­ti­more Ravens first-round draft pick Ron­nie Stan­ley has left his mark through the first week of train­ing camp.

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY SEAN GRO­GAN

Wide re­ceiver Mike Wallace had his best prac­tice as a mem­ber of the Ravens Sun­day.

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