Randle El expects to play tonight

Tonight's Steelers-Redskins preseason game will have at least one interesting sidelight: the appearance of Antwaan Randle El.

LATROBE – Ryan Clark and Sean Taylor won't be the only ex-teammates making a reunion tonight. Washington Redskins wide receiver Antwaan Randle El is expected to play against his former Steelers teammates for the first time.

Randle El has missed practice time this week with a quad injury, but expects to be able to play tonight.

"I look forward to it because I'll get to see some players that I built relationships with for four years," he told Washington reporters this week. "Having won the Super Bowl, having those relationships means a lot. It will be a good time, especially on the field before the game. When it comes to strapping up, we have to play ball, and they understand that too."

The Steelers, of course, missed Randle El last season. One of the stars of the Super Bowl, Randle El signed a six-year, $31 million contract ($11.5 million bonus) with the Redskins prior to the 2006 season.

The Steelers lost three more games, dropped from 7th to 15th in total offense and 7th to 15th in passer rating without Randle El.

The drop in offensive stats may have had more to do with the well-documented struggles of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but the special teams missed Randle El.

The Steelers' fell from third in punt return average in 2005 to 19th last season.

"It will be a little strange," Randle El said. "It will almost be like going against those guys in practice because I've had to compete in the past against them in practice. It is preseason and I'll enjoy the time that I'm out there."

What has Randle El noticed about the Steelers in the two games he's watched?

"I haven't seen much of a difference because they pretty much have the same offense and defense intact," he said. "They kept (defensive coordinator) Dick Lebeau and they made Bruce Arians the offensive coordinator and he will put the ball up the field a little more than when I was there, which they showed in the first two preseason games."

Randle El expects to start opposite Santana Moss for the Redskins (1-0). Their third wide receiver is Brandon Lloyd. The Steelers (1-1) will use last year's No. 1 draft pick, Santonio Holmes, as Randle El's replacement opposite Hines Ward.


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