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Steelers play waiting game with running back Mendenhall

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By Scott Brown
Monday, March 26, 2012

The Steelers expect running back Rashard Mendenhall to play in 2012. What they don't know is when or in what capacity. Mendenhall tore his ACL in the Steelers' regular-season finale, and general manager Kevin Colbert said later that the two-time, 1,000-yard rusher probably would need a year to fully recover.

"To clarify, what I said was I never think players coming off an ACL are 100 percent for a full year. It doesn't mean they can't play," Colbert said Sunday before the start of the NFL owners meetings. "At some point, we'll have Rashard back. I'm confident of that." Mendenhall, a first-round pick in 2008, is going into the final year of his contract.

> > Among the players the Steelers released earlier this month, James Farrior would be the most likely to return, given the team's lack of experience and depth at inside linebacker. But Colbert said that is a long shot, even though Farrior started for 10 consecutive seasons and made a pair of Pro Bowls before the Steelers released him.

"They know you never say never," Colbert said, "but they also know that we felt their time as Steelers was over. It was time for everyone to move on, and that's where we left off."

> > The Steelers are likely to receive no more than a seventh-round draft pick for their free-agent losses last year. Compensatory picks are awarded this week based on how many free agents a team lost and how many it signed the previous year. The Steelers lost tight end Matt Spaeth and defensive end Nick Eason to free agency. ... Former President Bill Clinton delivered the keynote speech Sunday night at an event kicking off the owners meetings.

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