The Mike Wallace Effect
By Andrew Eisch
Following the Dolphin’s 37-24 season finale loss on Sunday, Miami Dolphin’s fans were left puzzled about the team’s 2014 season, as well as their future. Second year Dolphin, Mike Wallace made headlines in the horrid loss to the Jets by reportedly being benched due to a “coaches decision” just before halftime.
As the game continued into the second half, rumors conflicted about Wallace’s status, some reports indicating he was involved in verbal arguments with several players and coaches, while other reports stated he benched himself.
With Wallace on the bench in the latter half of the game, Brian Hartline took over Wallace’s receiver position, while Brandon Gibson took over Hartline’s position, and rookie Jarvis Landry stayed in the slot position. Wallace finished the game with zero receptions.
Following the loss, teammate’s expressed frustration with Wallace’s antics, as several players told NFL reporter Jeff Darlington that Wallace’s actions “were tantamount to abandoning the team.”
When meeting with media, Wallace conducted his locker room interviews with fellow teammate Brandon Gibson, who responded to the media in place of Wallace, who deceivingly flashed a few smiles throughout the interview. Wallace’s only words throughout the interview were “definitely” when asked if Gibson’s words portrayed Wallace’s feelings, and “we’re all good” at the conclusion of the interview.
Although Wallace’s tactics were extensively negative and broadcasted uncertainty with the team, Gibson stated in place of Wallace, “moving forward I plan to be a Dolphin as long as my contract allows me to be.”
With Wallace concluding his second year in his five-year contract, the 2015 offseason may host a variety of changes to the Miami Dolphins receiving corps. Philbin later stated on Monday, there have been no decisions made on any of the players and coaches as of now.
Following the Dolphin’s thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Minnesota Vikings, the Dolphin’s owner Stephen Ross shared commitment with head coach Joe Philbin and the potential of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, an individual Wallace has reportedly shown frustration with in the past.
With Ross’ commitment to both Tannehill and Philbin, there is no word on the Dolphin’s plans for Mike Wallace, who was the sixth highest paid player in 2014.
Wallace is coming off of his best season with the Dolphins, compiling 67 receptions, 10 touchdowns and 115 targets, the most targets on the team.