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Steelers vs. Eagles: Pittsburgh Won't Miss Mendenhall

I hate to kick a guy while he's down, but it's difficult to imagine that Rashard Mendenhall, who suffered a brutal knee injury toward the end of last season, will be a Steeler next year. Pittsburgh's NFL preseason debut against the Philadelphia Eagles was basically a showcase for the quality depth the team has (wisely) built up behind the former first-round running back.

Isaac Redman was heavily involved in the offensive attack, with seven touches during Pittsburgh's first drive. Jonathan Dwyer, who finally seems healthy for the first time in his career, flashed an excellent combination of size and speed, particularly on a 33-yard rumble. Rookie fifth-rounder Chris Rainey has speed to spare and could earn a roster spot as a return specialist and sometime third down back; the 180-pounder was explosive and shifty on a 57-yard catch-and-run score. And we still haven't seen the best of Baron Batch, last year's preseason darling.

I expect Redman, who is solid in every phase of the game, to be a bit of a workhorse for Pittsburgh this year, with Dwyer taking about a third of the carries. As for Mendenhall, I hope his recovery goes well, but it's tough to count on anything from him this year, which may sadly be his last in a Steelers uniform.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.