Wallace embraces leadership role with Dolphins

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace knows his role on this team. There's no question about it in his mind.
"I'm here to be a leader," he said Tuesday after the first day of Miami's three-day minicamp. "This is a young team. Just continue to get better. Motivate guys. Like I said, just lead by example. Go out and just work on my routes, come out of my breaks fast, smooth and be ready when it comes time to get the ball."
Wallace, signed as a free agent from Pittsburgh for five years and $60 million, was usually a junior member of a veteran wide receiver corps with the Steelers. Things are different now.
"It's definitely different," said Wallace, the speedster who had 235 receptions for 4,042 yards and 32 touchdowns in four seasons in Pittsburgh.
"It's an entirely different role just because my first couple of years I played with Hines. Hines was 33, 34 (years old) when I got there. Great leader, one of the greatest of all time. Next year, I had Antwaan Randle El, who was also 33, 34 years old. The next year, I had Jerricho Cotchery, who was a great spiritual and motivational guy. He also was about 30 years old.
"So I was always used to being the youngest or the second youngest in the room. So it's an entirely different thing for me. But I embrace the role. I like it."
As a team leader, Wallace understands he has to be more aware of his actions.
"Yeah, I just have to lead more, lead by example more, not just go out and think I can just play my game and that'll be all I need to do," he said.
"Out there (in Pittsburgh), we had too many great leaders that I really didn't have to say too much, I really didn't have to do too much, just go out and do my job. But here, I have to do my job and motivate at the same time. I said what I had to say there, but that wasn't really my role. We had so many older guys who were great leaders, great motivational guys that I knew I didn't have to do that. But here I'm one of the oldest guys on the team and I'm still young. It's definitely a different approach, but I embrace it."