By Teresa Varley
Rookie Mike Wallace couldn't ask for much more when it comes to having veterans to guide him. He has Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, two Super Bowl MVPs, ahead of him in the lineup and both are always willing to give him tips.
"Those guys help me so much every day and make things easier," said Wallace. "They help me with the transition. It makes things a lot easier when you have a lot of people around you who want you to do good and are willing to help you all of the time."
Ward in particular is serving as a mentor to the young wide receiver, talking to him during practice, pointing things out on tape and of course, making sure he continues to work on his blocking skills.
"He tells me to always make sure I am accountable for myself, always be willing to help everybody else out by blocking, running the right route," said Wallace. "We all watch each others back, help each other out. He tells me to know my assignments and he is always talking to me about blocking because blocking is a key.
"I feel like it is getting better every week blocking. I still have a ways to go with it but I feel like I am getting better. I am starting to stay on blocks a little better."
At the same time he is stepping up as the third receiver for the black and gold. Through four games Wallace has 14 receptions for 194 yards. Seven of those receptions, for 102 yards, came against the Cincinnati Bengals in just his third NFL game.
"I want to go out and be the best player I can be," said Wallace. "It's about not wanting to let anyone down. Everything goes hand in hand. If people are willing to lend a hand and help me, I don't think I should let them down. I try to learn things as fast as I can.
"I have always been the type of guy who wants to be in the action, I never like to watch. I watch and learn from people who have done it before me, but at the same time I want to be in the game. I just go out and put forth my best effort and try to get better every day."
Willie Parker didn't practice on Wednesday, still hampered by a turf toe he suffered against the Bengals. Parker missed the Chargers game at Heinz Field on Sunday and while he is hopeful to play against the Lions, he doesn't want to push it and aggravate his injury.
"You have to play through pain regardless, that's what we do," said Parker. "You can't play when you are injured. There is a difference between playing hurt and injured. You can play hurt, you just can't play injured. I am ready to get back out there. I just have to be smart about doing so."