- The veteran wide receiver enters his 10th year with high expectations and excitement for the season. "This is what I want. I embrace this role, I embrace this team, I embrace the responsibility and the expectations of being on this team, that's why I came here. If I was trying to shy away from it, I would have went to another team that doesn't have as many big expectations."
It's fair to say that wide receiver Mike Wallace arrived at Training Camp in 2018 with heavy expectations on his shoulders.
The 10-year veteran, who signed with the Eagles as a free agent in March, is tasked with replacing Torrey Smith and contributing among a group of talented wide receivers who are coming off a Super Bowl Championship.
The challenge may seem daunting. But Wallace is clearly not worried about expectations one bit.
"Ten years, baby, applesauce to a boss," Wallace said to reporters at his locker following practice on Saturday. "This is what I want. I embrace this role, I embrace this team, I embrace the responsibility and the expectations of being on this team, that's why I came here. If I was trying to shy away from it, I would have went to another team that doesn't have as many big expectations."
Wallace has played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, and Baltimore Ravens in his career. He's accumulated 8,072 yards on 538 receptions and 57 touchdowns.
But in those 10 years, he's never won a Super Bowl. In his only appearance, Wallace's Steelers lost in Super Bowl XLV. That was Wallace's second season. He believes the Eagles give him the best odds to finally get a ring.
"This is my 10th year, like I said. I want to get me a Super Bowl and I'm around some great guys and I think they give us a great chance of doing it," Wallace said. "Obviously, you have to put the work in and this is Day 3 of a long season, but when you have guys that come in and be positive every day and you're around great guys, it makes it a lot easier. The weight to me, I'm not worried about it. I embrace it."
Wallace came to the Eagles along with several other accomplished veterans like defensive end Michael Bennett and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. He said they all expect to make a deep playoff run with this year's Eagles team.
"We all are 10 years plus so we all know what it takes to win," Wallace said. "We've all been in winning situations, and we've all been in losing situations. … So here, we feel like they have the recipe and we all have the same, common agenda.
"We all want to win the Super Bowl and we feel like this team has a lot of great pieces. It's not about just the talent. It's about the whole atmosphere, the guys around here, the guys that they have in the locker room, the coaches that they have around here, and just the whole city. It's just a great opportunity and I think everybody wanted to be a part of it. For me, it was a no-brainer. I had some options but it was here or some other ones and it was a no-brainer for me."
Wallace said that while it's difficult for NFL players to watch other NFL games during the season, it was impossible to ignore quarterback Carson Wentz's historic campaign last season. His talent was especially apparent, Wallace said, when he watched tape to study teams that had played the Eagles.
After a few practices with Wentz, Wallace said he is impressed with what he has seen from his new quarterback and fully expects an impressive, healthy season.
"I just knew that he was scoring a whole lot of points and almost won MVP," Wallace said. "He's just encouraging and he wants to get better and you can tell how hard he's working. He just wants to be great. So, I can't even explain how excited I am to play on a team with him. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a great season."
The biggest attraction for Wallace, however, was head coach Doug Pederson. Wallace said watching the Eagles last season in the playoffs, coupled with encouragement from friends and former teammates on the Eagles like Wentz, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, and defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, made him want to play in Philadelphia that much more.
So far, Wallace said Pederson has lived up to his expectations.
"When you watch from afar, you see the guys on TV in the Super Bowl, just the energy they have, the energy Doug had, it just seemed like those guys wanted to play for him and not everybody wants to play for their coach," Wallace said. "Everyone was just telling me how good it was, so I was like, 'Let's do it.'"