Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 6/21/12

When the season opens in 2012, there is a great possibility that two starters from the 2011 campaign will be on the PUP list for the Steelers, running back Rashard Mendenhall and nose tackle Casey Hampton. Ironically, this was to be (and is) a huge season for both players as the Steelers weigh their contract options moving into 2013.This is especially true for Mendenhall, who in the last regular season game against the Cleveland Browns, tore his right ACL on the final play of the first quarter. That injury capped a somewhat disappointing 2011 season in which he ran for 928 yards and nine touchdowns. Fortunately, for the Steelers, they appear to have depth at the running back position and do not have to rush Mendenhall in his recovery.

Even General Manager Kevin Colbert expects Mendenhall (and Hampton) to return in 2012. “My guess is they’ll open the season on the PUP,” said Colbert, “You’ve got to remember both of those injuries happen late in the year.”  If this is the case, neither player will be eligible to return until after the Steelers’ sixth game (Week 8 of the NFL season). 

With Mendenhall on the mend, the Steelers will rely on Isaac Redman to carry the load. While he is solid and a powerful back (not to mention a fan favorite), he does not have the pedigree of Mendenhall and may not be able to be the player fans are expecting. In fact, fans may miss Mendenhall more than they expect.

One quick glance at his enigmatic career shows some strong numbers, especially when one considers the uneven offensive line play and an offensive coordinator that refused to commit to the run. Between the 2009 and 2010 seasons, he rushed for 2,381 yards and 20 touchdowns, and also added some flash as an outlet receiver.

In many ways, it is a shame that he is injured going into 2012, as he has a skill set that mirrors what offensive coordinator Todd Haley looks for in a all-purpose back, with the size, speed and hands to develop into a solid weapon for the offense. More importantly, the former first round selection would have had one last full season to show whether he is the long-term answer in the backfield, something that remains a question mark today.  

Also…

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Budapest drops 2024 Olympic bid, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris, which could ban some participants

DeMarcus Cousins was ‘praying’ for a better supporting cast with Sacramento

Report: Nets trading Bojan Bogdanovic to Wizards

Elliott spoke with police after 'best friend' caught with gun

Jets reportedly believe Jay Cutler can compete in AFC East

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: 'Melo could waive no-trade clause for Clippers after season

Rivers: Paul medically cleared to play, could return Thursday

Trea Turner missed part of Nats camp Wedneday for jury duty

Hernandez's prison calls to Pouncey could come up in trial

Josh Hamilton experiences pain in reconstructed knee, leaves camp

Report: Pacers gauging trade market for Paul George

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker