Posted August 27, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Ex-SU star Wallace waived by Panthers

The Carolina Panthers’ Rico Wallace catches a pass during practice at training camp July 29 in Spartanburg, S.C. Carolina waived Wallace on Monday after an injury settlement. AP file

By Jeff Nations - jnations@nvdaily.com

Former Shenandoah University standout wide receiver Rico Wallace agreed to an injury settlement and was among a group of players waived by the NFL's Carolina Panthers on Monday.

The news wasn't a surprise for the undrafted free agent Wallace, considering he has missed most of training camp and all three preseason games with a lingering hamstring injury.

"We're just disappointed that he didn't get another week or a preseason game to show what he can do," said Ryan Earls, a Gainesville, Fla.-based agent who represents Wallace. "The Panthers are still an option. Because of the injury settlement, he can't re-sign with them for six weeks so we'd be looking at Week 7."

Monday represented a major roster cutdown across the NFL, as teams were mandated to pare down to 75 players. That makes finding another shot for Wallace more difficult. Those roster cuts inevitably lead to a glut of available players, including at Wallace's wide receiver spot. Earls is already busy trying to get Wallace a tryout with another team.

"It's going to be tough," Earls said. "We have no preseason footage of him, so it's going to be a tough road trying to get him on a practice squad. That's what we're doing right now, working the phones and sending out emails.

"... He still has film from college that's less than a year old, so that's still considered valid by most teams. I told him to be flight ready. There's a couple teams we're going to target that are weak at wide receiver."

If another NFL opportunity doesn't materialize soon, Earls said Wallace could look to the Canadian Football League (CFL) or possibly even the United Football League (UFL), provided that league plays a season. The UFL is set to begin play in mid-September. The CFL is nearly halfway through it's season, making that option uncertain as well.

Wallace, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder, gained NFL interest with a breakout senior season at Shenandoah that included 67 catches for 1,241 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was a second-team NCAA Division III All-American last year.

Wallace signed with the Panthers shortly after the NFL draft, receiving the largest bonus handed out by the team to an undrafted free agent.

Earls said Wallace is "98 percent" healthy now from the hamstring injury.

"He's almost fully healthy," Earls said. "He might need a day or two of rest, but he's basically ready to go."

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