DAVIE, Fla. — It’s got as much a chance of happening as no-nonsense Joe Philbin performing a vaudeville skit.
But at least it’s fun that Mike Wallace is still talking about having a 2,000-yard receiving season.
In 2011, when the wideout was with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he told the Beaver County Times about the upcoming season, “I have big goals. I plan to get 2,000 yards.”
Wallace at least was coming off a year in which he had gained 1,257 yards. He then didn’t come close to his goal, although he had a quite respectable 1,193 yards.
Now, Wallace is coming of an 836-yard season and is with a new team. But he’s still talking about reaching the 2,000-yard mark.
“Yeah, I still feel that way,” Wallace told FOX Sports Florida about getting there in his first season with the Miami Dolphins, who signed him to a five-year, $60 million deal last spring. “I believe in my abilities. If I get enough opportunities, I think I can make 2,000 happen. I’m striving for greatness.”
The NFL record is 1,964 yards, set last season by Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Johnson shattered Jerry Rice’s 1995 record of 1,848.
Wallace was rooting for Johnson to get to 2,000. But since he didn’t, the milestone remains up for grabs.
“I want to be the first,” said Wallace, entering his fifth NFL season. “But I would have been happy for (Johnson) if he had done it. That’s my friend.”
To realize the absurdity of Wallace’s desire to reach 2,000, he would need to average 125 yards in Miami’s 16 games to get there. In 63 career regular-season games, Wallace has had 125 or more yards receiving just three times.
Wallace barely got 2,000 yards in the past two seasons combined. He put up 2,029.
Still, it’s refreshing the Dolphins at least have one player prone to tall talk. Then again, one wonders how he ended up on a Philbin-coached team.
Since Philbin arrived in Miami in January 2012, he’s played a role in dispatching two gregarious wide receivers in Brandon Marshall and Chad Johnson, although the latter’s arrest in August 2012 on a domestic violence charge was a primary reason for his exit.
Linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett also were big talkers on the Dolphins. They both were sent packing earlier this year.
Enter Wallace, a much welcome quote machine on the generally dull Dolphins. He said last week without hesitation he’s the fastest player in the NFL.
Philbin was asked if Wallace’s personality and flashy play figure to make him very popular in South Florida. You know Philbin didn’t want to touch that one.
“I hope he is a very productive football player,” Philbin said. “I hope he does a great job on and off the field and makes a difference in the Miami community and on the football field for the Dolphins. His popularity, I really have no interest in, and I’m not concerned about it.”
Of course, if Wallace lives up to any of what he says, Philbin can’t have a problem with that. Wallace also has spoken of wanting to lead the NFL in receiving even if he’s never finished before in the top 10.
“I want to lead the league in everything I possibly can,” Wallace, whose career high was 72 catches in 2011, told reporters this week. “If you plan for anything other than that, you’re settling. I want to be the best. I’m not out here to be the second-best or third-best. I want to be the best player in the league. There are some great guys to try and catch, so I have a big-time challenge ahead of me, but I’m up for it.”
Before Wallace really gets ahead of himself, he might want to make one catch for the Dolphins. He made his preseason debut last Friday at Jacksonville and didn’t haul in a single ball nor have one thrown his way by quarterback Ryan Tannehill. But Wallace isn’t concerned.
“They had a couple of designs for me, but things just didn’t work out,” said Wallace, who had missed Miami’s first exhibition due to a groin strain. “I didn’t lose not one hour’s of sleep or didn’t get frustrated or anything like that. It was just the first preseason game (for Wallace). I know where I’ll be at. I just got to be patient and work through the offense and everything will fall into place.”
At least preseason doesn’t count in Wallace’s quest for 2,000 yards.