New Co-Starters at RB Injured

The Steelers are optimistic that Le'Veon Bell's knee injury isn't serious. Details inside. Also, Jarvis Jones' up-and-down practice and the numbers games at QB and TE.

LATROBE -- After nearly three weeks of conjecture about the Steelers' starting running back this season, it appeared to come down to Jonathan Dwyer, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Baron Batch late yesterday afternoon.

That's because the just-announced "co-starter" tandem of Isaac Redman and Le'Veon Bell were injured in the same practice.

But Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Redman sustained a stinger and "as soon as he regains strength he'll be back in participation."

And Bell, Tomlin said of the rookie, "re-aggravated his (left) knee," which was originally injured Aug. 2 and forced him out of the preseason opener.

"He'll be evaluated shortly," Tomlin said after Thursday's practice. "We'll have more information regarding his status once we get that evaluation."

The word circulating through campus was an optimistic one. "I asked a bunch of guys and their understanding is that it's not serious," said Brett Keisel. "Hopefully they're right."

In the play prior to his injury, Bell lined up in the slot to empty the backfield in a four-wide look that resulted in a Ben Roethlisberger pass to Emmanuel Sanders for a sizable gain.

Bell then took a handoff through left tackle and gained close to 15 yards before being hit and going down hard on his knee. He was tended to for several minutes as the team moved and continued practice. Bell eventually rose slowly, limped noticeably, and had ice applied by the training staff. Bell didn't leave the field until the end of practice when he took off the ice pack and limped away.

Redman had been hurt in the previous scrimmage session, this one the only designated "live" tackling session of the day.

On the first snap, Redman ran into the middle of the line, was stopped, and fumbled. As Redman remained on the ground, teammates congratulated Larry Foote for the hit, but Redman later said he ran into the back of an offensive lineman.

"He came over and said 'It wasn't me," Redman said of Foote. "It was just a little stinger. I'm good. Everything is good."

Tomlin said the session in which Bell was hurt wasn't supposed to be live. A reporter tried to ask Tomlin if he was concerned about the live hitting that has marked this training camp, but Tomlin cut off the reporter with a terse "No."


Jarvis Jones, like any rookie, has his ups and downs, and the "up" part yesterday was during live scrimmage when Jones blew up Jonathan Dwyer in the backfield and -- and as has become his trademark -- reached into Dwyer's gut to rip the ball away in the same motion. Dwyer held on to the ball this time, but most backs this camp haven't been as fortunate against Jones.

On the down side, Jones was pushed around in a one-on-one run-blocking drill by tight ends Jamie McCoy and Nathan Overbay. Jones later tweaked a groin injury that had kept him out of a few practices early in camp.


The Steelers will keep three quarterbacks this season, but no one's sure how many tight ends they'll be forced to roster on the final cutdown day.

Right now, David Paulson and probably Jamie McCoy would be their two healthy tight ends for the opener. But, will the Steelers keep a third healthy body such as Overbay? Or will they keep a couple of unhealthy players because of the IR and PUP rules?

Here are the options:

* Heath Miller isn't close to coming off the PUP list, and neither is David Johnson, but if a player remains on the PUP list past the final cut to 53, that player can't come back until the day after the sixth weekend. That means a talented player such as Miller might be pulled off the PUP list on cutdown day (Aug. 31) and placed on the 53-man roster so that he could return prior to the sixth game, in his case possibly after the bye of the fourth weekend.

* If a player remains on the PUP list on Aug. 31, he can be activated at any time between the day after the sixth weekend and the day after the 11th weekend. A player has a 21-day practice window once he's taken off the PUP list.

* Matt Spaeth, a third injured tight end, will likely be placed on Injured Reserve and be designated for return. Only one player on the team can be so designated, and that player must be part of the 53-man roster for at least a day.

The net result is that the Steelers will most likely keep two injured tight ends on their 53-man roster, for at least a day, and could lose a decent prospect or two because of it.

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