Mike Wallace says he was benched

ByJames Walker ESPN logo
Monday, December 29, 2014

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace denied Monday that he asked out of the team's loss to the New York Jets and said the second-half benching was a coach's decision.

Wallace denied reports that he told coaches he wasn't playing in the second half. According to Wallace, Dolphins receivers coach Ken O'Keefe informed him that he wasn't returning to the game.

"I found out when I was going back on the field," Wallace said in his first comments since the benching. "I was just told that I was done for the second half. Of course [I wanted to play]."

It is unclear why Wallace was benched, but something clearly took place around halftime. The team has been tight-lipped about the situation, and so has Wallace.

"I've never discussed private conversations with players to anybody. It was a private conversation," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said Monday. "He and I had a discussion. Then, I made a coaching decision. Really, that's all there is to it."

The only other nuggets of information have come from players who were present, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill and receiver Brandon Gibson.

"I know the frustrating part for him is not being involved as much as he wanted to be," Gibson said. "I think that will be frustrating for any player in any situation, especially to a player of his caliber. ... He just wants to contribute. I know that deep down."

Tannehill confirmed there was "no confrontation" between him and Wallace at halftime. Tannehill added he hopes Wallace works out his differences with the team and everyone can move forward next season.

"I want to be on a great page with Mike," Tannehill said. "He's a great player, had a heck of a season for us and made some great plays for us. So I'm moving forward. We're going to have to be on the same page to get better."

Wallace signed a $60 million contract in 2013 and is due a $9.9 million salary next season. He also counts $12.1 million against the salary cap, making a parting of ways challenging for Miami.

Wallace said he wants to return but understands the business side and that his status could be up in the air.

"I'm not a general manager or anything, or a head coach. So I'm not sure," Wallace said.

Wallace finished the year with 67 receptions and led the Dolphins in receiving yards (862) and touchdowns (10). The Dolphins were 8-8 for the second straight season.

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