For fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, star wide receiver Mike Wallace's extended holdout over a contract dispute has been one of the most important stories of the NFL preseason. The young playmaker finally rejoined the team on Tuesday after missing a few preseason games and dozens of practices and off-season workouts.
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But Wallace's first interview of the 2012 season didn't go to ESPN or the hometown Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper. It didn't air on the news or land on any of a number of high-profile Steelers or NFL blogs. No, Wallace's first interview after rejoining the squad was an iPhone video Q-and-A (embedded above) with teammate James Harrison, which Harrison posted to his Facebook Timeline on Tuesday morning.
Harrison and Wallace cover an impressive amount of ground in the 46-second clip: How it feels to be back, goals for the season and Wallace's familiarity with the offense after his time away from the team. Then Harrison ends the brief interview with a pretty epic sign-off that would put most other sportscasters -- aspiring or otherwise -- to shame:
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"That's live, right here in the Steelers locker room with James Harrison. Mike Wallace, the kid! First interview! Cut!" Harrison intones from behind the camera.
Harrison later followed up his Wallace interview with a second Q-and-A asking receiver Antonio Brown how it feels to have his running mate back.
Entertaining sign-offs aside, Wallace's interview with Harrison does reflect some of the big picture changes social and mobile technology have brought to sports media. Instead of having to face potentially hostile -- or simply responsible, depending on your point of view -- questions from mainstream sports media, Wallace was able to control the conversation and put his face back in front of fans on his own terms via mobile video. And Facebook provided a more than sufficient platform for publishing; Harrison has nearly 375,000 subscribers and the video post received some 2,800 Likes and 900 shares after it went up.
If Wallace struggles to return to form, he'll no doubt have little choice but to answers reporters' tough questions about possible holdout rust. But social media and PR consultants always tell athletes these days to "be their own media outlet" whenever possible. On Tuesday morning, Wallace played that piece of advice like the All-Pro he is.
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This story originally published on Mashable here.