Rashard Mendenhall has worked out on his own at a feverish pitch during the first two days of organized team activities.
The way he looks running up and down the sidelines at the Steelers’ facility makes you wonder if he will be back sooner than expected from the torn ACL he suffered in Cleveland during the regular-season finale last year.
Well, he could be ready sooner, but don’t expect him to push to get back early.
Mendenhall’s contract is up after the year, and you really can’t blame him for not wanting to rush back.
Think about it, why would he rush back? So he shows the rest league what a less-than-100 percent Rashard Mendenhall looks like during a contract year if the Steelers decide he’s not in their plans anymore?
Honestly, Mendenhall needs to be selfish with this situation. He needs to make sure he is 100 percent before he gets on the field more to ensure his long-term future in the league. He will be 25 soon, and we all know running backs don’t last past 30 too very often, so it would be smart if Mendenhall takes his time.
“I am not targeting anything,” Mendenhall said after Wednesday’s OTA. “I don’t have a time frame. I just want to get back to 100 percent, and right now, I feel good about it. Everything is going well.”
To quote Mike Tomlin, there might be some short-term misery with the lack of experienced depth the Steelers have at running back, but it just may pay off substantially in November and December.
An ACL injury typically takes 9-10 months to heal following surgery. Mendenhall is close to five months out from his surgery.
A little quick math puts Mendenhall back in the lineup by November. Since it is an unknown if Isaac Redman can carry a load for an entire season, Mendenhall could be ready to step in and help at the perfect time.
A fully rested and totally healed Mendenhall in the lineup for the last month of so of the season to share time with Redman would be something that could really benefit the Steelers’ offense down the stretch.
And it could really benefit Mendenhall’s wallet in the long run as well.
• Mark Kaboly
• Published: May 24, 9:30 a.m.