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I’m not saying it will happen or that it should happen. Please understand that. But the Steelers could cut Mendenhall right now and not miss a beat. That’s not because Mendenhall isn’t a good back or because he isn’t recovered from his ACL injury.
It is because the Steelers have found out this preseason that they probably have too many running backs that can contribute in the NFL. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer can start. Baron Batch is also useful. Chris Rainey is also good enough to be in the rotation.
Mendenhall hasn’t played this preseason and the Steelers have run the ball better than they have in the past two years. Some of that might be the level of competition with backups subbing in for large parts of games, but the reality is that Mendenhall is now under a lot of pressure.
If he comes back and struggles, he’s not only hurting his chances of a good deal at the end of the year, he’s also jeopardizing any interest the Steelers have in bringing him back. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprise if he’s not even tendered an offer here.