PITTSBURGH -- Now in his third NFL season, former Bowie State running back Isaac Redman has become a big part of the Pittsburgh Steelers backfield, starting five games and leading the Ravens’ AFC North rivals with 84 carries. But heading into Sunday night, Redman is one of three running backs the Ravens must prepare for.
Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh’s leading rusher the past three seasons, is questionable for Sunday’s game at Heinz Field. But Redman said he expects Mendenhall to join Jonathan Dwyer and him in a crowded backfield.
“This is probably going to be our first game where all three of us are capable of going out there,” said Redman, a native of Paulsboro, N.J. “So I’m not even sure how the rotation is going to work.”
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Mendenhall missed Pittsburgh's first three games as he worked his way back from a knee injury he suffered in January. He started two games in early October, rushing for 74 yards on 19 carries, but he has since been sidelined with an Achilles injury. Dwyer missed two games with a quad injury, coincidentally when Mendenhall was active. Meanwhile, Redman missed time with an injury of his own, sitting out a pair of wins in late October with an ankle injury. He has 295 rushing yards and two touchdowns in seven games.
“It’s been an up-and-down season for me,” Redman said. “I’ve been dealing with injuries, but I’m fighting back. I had a pretty good game against the [New York] Giants. And [on Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs], I didn’t feel like I played too well. I had a fumble. Hopefully I can get on the right track this week.”
Redman had a career-high 147 rushing yards against the Giants. But after he lost a fumble in the first half of the 16-13 overtime win over the Chiefs, Dwyer ended up getting more carries, rushing for 56 yards on 19 carries.
Dwyer leads the team with 355 rushing yards. The Steelers also have Chris Rainey, an electric rookie scatback who has gained 107 total yards on 26 touches. Mendenhall will likely be the team’s lead back once he is healthy enough to carry the load. But either way, the Ravens must prepare for more than just Mendenhall this week.
“It’s different. Since I’ve been here, it’s always been Rashard carrying most of the load and me backing him up,” said Redman, whose fourth-quarter touchdown on a screen pass proved to be the difference in Pittsburgh’s 13-10 win at M&T Bank Stadium two seasons ago. “Now we have three guys that are capable of playing.”
In other injury news, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who missed Monday’s game against the Chiefs with an ankle injury, said he won’t practice Wednesday and Thursday, but he will try to give it a go on Friday.
“We’re going to evaluate it and see where I’m at Friday,” he said. “And hopefully it can be a great comeback.”