By Eric Schmidt

With doubts surrounding RB Rashard Mendenhall as to whether or not he can return for the regular season in it’s entirety in 2012, RB Isaac Redman thinks he is prepared to carry the load for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the regular season.  Redman was thrust into duty last season for the Steelers after injuries took their toll on the team’s backfield.

The third-year back out of Bowie State put up 479 rushing yards last season, scoring three times. He posted a career best game against the Denver Broncos in the playoffs, rushing for 121 yards on 17 carries. Denver finished the season ranked 22nd in the NFL against the rush, surrendering 126 yards per game. Newly hired offensive coordinator Todd Haley wants to install a run heavy offense this season, so Redman will be called on the shoulder a much bigger load if Mendenhall is.

The larger question surrounding Redman however is, can he be an every down back week in and week out. If Mendenhall misses the entire season, can he be counted on to carry the ball 250 times? One thing that Redman isn’t lacking is confidence. “Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been doubted by everybody except the players and the coaches. They understand the type of player I am, and that’s why they’ve kept me around. They see something in me, so I never doubt myself. I’m ready to get out there. Hopefully, I’ll surprise everybody,” said Redman.

The Steelers have questions surrounding their offensive line, which struggled last season. The unit yielded 40 sacks and Pittsburgh finished in the middle of the league in rushing, averaging just 114 yards per game.

Pittsburgh has struggled with salary cap issues this offseason and has had to make the best of their current situation while being up against the salary cap. If Redman struggles as the Steelers open training camp, there is always the possibility that the club could sign Cedric Benson. Benson has generated little interest in the soft veteran running back free agent market this season and could likely be signed for a veteran minimum contract with incentives if the club can clear the cap space. A possible move the confident Redman should keep in the back of his mind as camps open late next month.






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