by Fitzgerald Cecilio
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has declared that Isaac Redman will open the season as the team's starting running back against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, saying the rusher has "a clean bill of health".
"We know what Isaac is capable of. He's answered the bell for us in the past," Tomlin said. "We expect him to do it in a big way moving forward."
Redman only played in the Steelers' first preseason game as he was hampered by a pinched nerve in his shoulder. The former undrafted free agent practiced fully Monday and said he is ready for a full workload.
The Steelers' depth chart lists Redman and rookie Le'Veon Bell as the starters, but the latter is out against the Titans as he is recovering from a mid-foot sprain.
According to Tomlin, Bell is out of a walking boot and there is a chance he could take part in some individual drills this week in practice.
Without Bell, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Felix Jones are expected to get some carries in relief of Redman.
"We're continuing to get to know Felix," Tomlin said. "We like his natural run instincts. He quickly proved that he can do some positive things in terms of running the football."
Redman opened last season as the starting running back, but he finished with just 410 yards and two scores and averaged 3.7 yards per carry.
He rushed for a career-high 147 yards against the Giants in early November, but the 6-foot, 230-pounder didn't receive more than nine carries in the eight games that followed that performance.