Share This Page

Steelers notebook: Mendenhall not ruled out for season opener

| Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012, 6:36 p.m.
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is moving closer to a return. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

The Steelers didn't expect running back Rashard Mendenhall (knee) to return until well into the season. Yet he practiced Monday, and coach Mike Tomlin isn't ruling him out of the season opener Sunday in Denver.

Mendenhall tore an ACL in the final 2011 regular-season game.

Isaac Redman, expected to fill in for Mendenhall, is still battling an ankle injury, and his status is uncertain.

Jonathan Dwyer is healthy and coming off a strong preseason, prompting Tomlin to say, “There's a certain level of growth and maturity ... (and) he is in better physical condition than he has been in the past.”

• Tomlin made it official by ruling out safetyRyan Clark from playing in high-altitude Denver because of his sickle cell trait. Ryan Mundy will replace Clark, who also didn't play in the wild-card playoff game there in January. Clark lost 35 pounds, his spleen and his gall bladder after a midseason 2007 game in Denver. Clark is launching an initiative with UPMC (www.CureLeague.org) designed to raise money for sickle cell research and, ultimately, find a cure.

• Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning, despite missing last season with a neck injury and changing uniforms from the Colts to the Broncos. Much of Manning's signature pre-snap ritual — such as his finger pointing — is the same as it was in Indianapolis, according to Tomlin. Tomlin calls Manning “a ridiculous competitor” with “ridiculous football character,” while adding, “Guys like him make their reputations in rising up in moments like this.”

• Tomlin wouldn't confirm that wide receiver Mike Wallace will start after practicing only one day, but it is evident that Wallace will get considerable playing time despite his recently concluded holdout. Tomlin was satisfied with the level of conditioning Wallace showed Monday despite missing training camp and all of the spring workouts. Tomlin said, “I didn't see anything that would lead me to believe that (starting) is not a possibility.”

• Tomlin said cornerback Keenan Lewis has “earned a spot,” though he wouldn't confirm Lewis has secured the cornerback's job left vacant when William Gay wasn't brought back. Tomlin also praised nickel back Cortez Allen, saying he has “grown by leaps and bounds.”

— Alan Robinson

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.