<
>

Mike Wallace: Free-agent priority is earning a Super Bowl ring, not money

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Wide receiver Mike Wallace doesn't know whether he'll be returning to the Baltimore Ravens next season. But the soon-to-be free agent made it clear that his priority is winning, not money.

As the Ravens cleared out their lockers Monday, Wallace said his intention is to land on a team that gives him the best chance to get a ring.

"I made a lot of money ... [but] that's not the most important thing for me. I want to win," Wallace said a day after a 31-27 season-ending loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. "At one point in time, my focus was to make sure my family was secure. But now, it's to win. That's going to be my key -- just put myself in the best situation that I can to win a Super Bowl. Hopefully, it's here. But, like I said, football is a business. You never know how things go."

In his second season in Baltimore, Wallace led the Ravens with 748 yards receiving and tied for the team lead with four touchdown catches. He accounted for 43 percent of the yards produced by Baltimore's wide receivers.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco called Wallace "a warrior." Wallace missed just one game despite battling knee, ankle, back and head injuries this season, which was critical for an offense that dealt with Jeremy Maclin being sidelined for four games and Breshad Perriman being a healthy scratch for four games.

"Just the attitude and explosiveness he brings out there, I think you guys can see the amount of big plays he's had the past couple of years," Flacco said. "He's second to none in the league. He does a lot for an offense like this. It'd be huge to see him back."

If the Ravens can't keep Wallace, they'll likely be starting from scratch at wide receiver. Maclin is a candidate to get cut (Baltimore can create $5 million in cap room), Perriman has been a bust and Michael Campanaro is a free agent. The only current wide receiver who can penciled in for next season is Chris Moore.

The Ravens' wide receiver group ranked among the worst in the NFL. Baltimore's wide receivers totaled 1,734 yards receiving, which were ahead of only the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills.

This season, Wallace was the Ravens' only playmaker downfield. He caught three passes of 50 or more yards this season, and he likely would've had more if Flacco hadn't underthrown him at times. Still, only Kansas City's Tyreek Hill (six) and San Francisco's Marquise Goodwin (four) had more.

"I don't expect anything," Wallace said about free agency. "Do I hope (to return)? Yes. But expect nothing. I love it here. These coaches gave me the love of the game back at a time when it was dark. If they want me, I’ll definitely come back."

Wallace, 31, pointed out that he played in the Super Bowl in his second season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who lost to the Green Bay Packers in 2010. Since that game, he's only played in one playoff game, bouncing from the Dolphins to the Vikings to the Ravens.

"Honestly, I want to win," Wallace said. "It will be my 10th season next year. I want to win Super Bowl."