After catching three balls for 133 yards in the Ravens’ 30-17 win at the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Mike Wallace now has 498 receptions and is poised to become the 18th active player in the NFL to reach 500 in his career.
That would seem to be a quality feat for the ninth-year wide receiver, and he’ll get a shot at that benchmark against the Chicago Bears on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. But he was rather casual about it when approached after Wednesday’s practice.
“It’ll be all right,” he said with a smile. “It would be a lot better if I had 1,000. I mean, I just play. When it’s all said and done, we’re going to go back and look at some of the nice things that we did, but for right now, it’s just another catch.”
As much as he tried to downplay the potential achievement, it is not that easy to attain. Former Ravens tight end Todd Heap finished with 499 catches in his career, and current wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight end Benjamin Watson are at 490 and 452, respectively.
But Wallace said that even as a youth football player growing up in New Orleans, he foresaw himself getting to this stage.
“I saw myself getting 1,000 catches,” he said. “How many does Jerry Rice have? (1,549) Before I even came to the league, I envisioned myself breaking every record. Obviously, it hasn’t gone that way, but when you’re a kid, you dream. So of course I had these visions. I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s who I am.”
Wallace acknowledged that numbers are important to him. (“I play wide receiver. Why wouldn’t it?” he quipped.) But he said there is a time and place to contemplate accomplishments.
“I just want to go out and make some great plays and have some fun and win some football games,” he said. “At the end of my career, I’ll go back and look at some things I’ve done, and I’ll be happy and excited about it. But right now, I’m just enjoying the moment. This is my dream, playing in the games that I love. It’s a blessing.”