It was back to business for the Steelers on Monday, after a four-day break for the bye week, and as they prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles the hope is they will get some of their injured players back on the field Sunday.
Among those who haven’t played yet this season, but whose return would be a huge boost to the offense, is running back Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall has been out since suffering an ACL injury at the end of last season and his presence could help a ground game that is averaging only 65 yards per game through three games.
“Rashard is one of the best in the league,” said wide receiver Mike Wallace. “When you get a guy back like that who is very explosive, has really good feet, a lot of vision, it’s going to boost our team.”
While his teammates talk about a potential return for him, Mendenhall still isn’t sure if he will be ready to play this week.
“I can’t say that,” said Mendenhall. “I am just trying to improve and take it one day at a time. We are all gauging it, going through it. When the time is ready I think we all need to be clear on it. We’re just taking it one day at a time. We will see.”
Mendenhall said he is preparing the same this week as he did week one of the season when he wasn’t able to play, but he is definitely making progress and benefitted from the days off during the bye week.
“It felt good,” said Mendenhall. “We are back at it, still taking it one day at a time. I’ve been improving every day. I am going to continue to work and prepare for the game, like I have every week.”
Safety Troy Polamalu hasn’t played since the first week of the season in Denver, and linebacker James Harrison has been sidelined all season as well. Polamalu, like Mendenhall, took advantage of the rest during the bye week.
“The more time off, the better,” said Polamalu. “It was a pretty early bye week for us but hopefully we can get some momentum going and we will see how this week turns out for us.”
Polamalu, who also didn’t comment on his status for this Sunday, instead deferring to Coach Mike Tomlin on whether or not he will be able to play, said he doesn’t know what kind of impact having him or Harrison back on the field will have on the defense until it actually happens.
“I don’t know,” said Polamalu. “We will see once we all get on the field together. There are some other new faces out there that have become starters. It’s about how all 11 guys are playing together.”
Tags: James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall, Troy Polamalu
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