TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Steelers activate Mendenhall, Hampton from PUP list

Steelers/NFL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Alan Robinson
Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, 8:20 p.m.
 

The early returns are in for Casey Hampton and Rashard Mendenhall.

The Steelers activated nose tackle Hampton and running back Mendenhall off the physically unable to perform list Friday, moves that allow both players to rejoin their teammates for practice and conditioning work with more than two weeks left in the preseason.

“It's a great feeling to have everybody coming back,” said defensive lineman Steve McLendon, who was taking Hampton's spot with the first-team defense. “Casey is going to make our team go to that next level where we really want to go. Casey is like a dominant threat in the middle.”

Both players are recovering from surgery to repair torn anterior cruciate ligaments. Mendenhall hurt his right knee in the final regular season game against Cleveland on Jan. 1, while Hampton's left knee was injured during the playoff loss to Denver on Jan. 8.

The normal recovery time for the injury is nine to 12 months.

While both players can practice freely with their teammates, following a two-day waiting period, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are close to being game-ready.

“I've been talking to (Mendenhall), and he's been saying he's been feeling good,” running back Isaac Redman said. “He's been cutting and running at full speed, so it's just a process with him coming in live now and being able to take hits.”

Hampton, 34, has come back from a torn ACL twice before.

“(Hampton) has been working his way back in camp,” linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. “He's been working with the young guys, and the defense will be better with him.”

Once a player is removed from the physically unable to perform list during training camp, he cannot be on that list once the season begins, so Hampton and Mendenhall are ineligible to be on the PUP list for the Steelers' season-opening game Sept. 9 in Denver.

Mendenhall, who is in the final year of his contract, was not expected to be activated off the PUP list this soon. But injuries have left the Steelers thin at running back, where only Jonathan Dwyer, Baron Batch and rookie Chris Rainey are currently practicing. Redman, expected to be Mendenhall's early season replacement, has a groin injury.

“We are probably going to get a few more reps until Isaac and Rashard are ready to go,” said Dwyer, who returned to practice Friday after suffering a shoulder injury.

Staff writer Ralph N. Paulk and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at arobinson@tribweb.com.

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review - Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall runs during practice at St. Vincent College on July 29, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall runs during practice at St. Vincent College on July 29, 2012.
ASSOCIATED PRESS - This is a 2012 photo of Casey Hampton of the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL football team. This image reflects the Pittsburgh Steelers active roster as of Thursday, June 14, 2012. (AP Photo)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>ASSOCIATED PRESS</em></div>This is a 2012 photo of Casey Hampton of the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL football team. This image reflects the Pittsburgh Steelers active roster as of Thursday, June 14, 2012. (AP Photo)
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Steelers

  1. Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
  2. Tight ends’ role in Steelers passing game continues to lessen but players remain selfless
  3. Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
  4. Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
  5. Steelers unfazed by Patriots quarterback Brady suspension saga
  6. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  7. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  8. Inside the Steelers: Ventrone suffers right ankle injury
  9. Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
  10. Steelers RB Bell ready despite being in limbo
  11. Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense