PITTSBURGH – It appears that, for the second consecutive year, Isaac Redman will be the Steelers’ starting running back in their regular-season opener.
But Redman feels things will be a little different Sunday when the Steelers host Tennessee.
“Last year, coming into the opener, I knew it would be two series and then (Jonathan) Dwyer would come in for two series,” Redman said Monday. “Right now, I’m not sure what’s going on, but I feel like they may be leaning toward letting me carry the load until I’m not performing and they want somebody else in there.”
Redman, who has been listed as the Steelers’ starting running back since the start of training camp, is at least right about one thing. He won’t have Dwyer replacing him anytime soon.
Dwyer, who was the Steelers’ leading rusher last year, was released Saturday.
That leaves Redman, Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling to carry the load against the Titans as second-round draft pick Le’Veon Bell continues to recover from a sprained foot.
“I’m going to try to get back by Week 2,” Bell said. “I’m not making any promises. I just want to make sure that I’m 100 percent before I do anything.”
In the meantime, Redman, who had only two preseason carries after suffering a stinger in practice Aug. 16, said he’s ready to go.
“If it was up to me, I’d have been out there,” said Redman, who had 410 rushing yards and 244 receiving last year. “The second preseason game, I wasn’t able to go. The last two, I felt like I could have been out there if it was a regular-season game.
“They just didn’t want any unnecessary hits on it. The way a stinger heals is not to take any hits on it. You can play through the pain, but why risk that in a preseason game?”
Redman wants to make it difficult for the coaching staff to replace him, even after Bell returns.
“The games that I’ve been able to stay in the entire game, I’ve done very well,” said Redman, who noted that he hasn’t been told he’s the starter, though he took the starter’s carries in practice Monday.
“Not to make any excuses, but it’s hard to carry the ball twice or two series and then Dwyer goes in for two series. Then, you go to halftime and maybe the defense is out there. You look up and you haven’t carried the ball in a while. It’s hard to stay in a rhythm. Any time I’m able to stay on the field and play the whole game, I’ve always done well.”
Odds and end zones
The Steelers must wait until 4 p.m. today until they can make a roster move with tight end Matt Spaeth, who is out until at least mid-October with a foot injury. … The Steelers signed former New England punter Zoltan Mesko, who was released by the Patriots last week. In 3 years with New England, Mesko averaged 44.2 yards per punt with 71 kicks downed inside the 20-yard line. ... The Steelers also claimed cornerback Antwon Blake off waivers from Jacksonville. Cornerback Isaiah Green was waived. ... Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, Brett Keisel and Ryan Clark were voted team captains by their teammates.