New short-yardage hopeful?

UNITY TWP. – The star of Sunday's goal-line scrimmage wasn't drafted, but Isaac Redman signed with the Steelers ...

... afterward, even though they had Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore and the just-drafted Frank "The Tank" Summers to play tailback.

Why did Redman pick this team?

"This team picked me," said Redman. "They were the only team that really wanted me. I was kind of under the radar, nobody really knew too much about me, and it's a blessing to be on the best team out there. I hope to make the most of it."

He did on Sunday. Redman scored two touchdowns on two carries from the 1-yard line, and he was the fullback for Summer's touchdown run, to help account for all three of the touchdowns in the offense's seven tries Sunday. Of course, Redman worked against the second team. The first team defense stuffed Mendenhall twice and Summers once.

If there's disappointment in Mendenhall not scoring behind fullback Sean McHugh against a mountain of humanity – caused by the offense using three tight ends and a fullback without a receiver – there should be equal satisfaction in the success of Redman, the 6-0, 230-pound rookie free agent out of Bowie State.

Redman doesn't pop the pads like Frank The Tank, but he has better leg drive, which became apparent during a brief short-yardage run scrimmage held in the middle of practice. It was a tune-up for the end-of-practice goal-line drill, in which Redman starred. He was asked if he'd been the short-yardage runner at Bowie State.

"I pretty much did all the running: short yardage, long yardage, whatever," said the former New Jersey state prep wrestling (215 pounds) champ.

With 3,300 yards, Redman is the all-time leading rusher as a Bulldog at Bowie State, a Division II school in Bowie, Md. Redman's best season was 2005 wwen he set a school record with 1,512 rushing yards.

Redman redshirted in 2006 and played in only 13 games the last two seasons because of injuries and academic issues. He scored 36 rushing touchdowns in college, and his toughness throughout the first week of camp drew the attention of the coaching staff, even though Coach Mike Tomlin had trouble remembering is name and called him "Barlow" because he runs like former Pitt star Kevan Barlow.

"He calls me ‘Bowie State,' ‘Bulldog,' ‘Barlow,'" Redman said. "Anything's good right now. But he does know my name. We've had some talks."

With Parker recovering from Saturday morning back spasms, Tomlin thought it time to give Redman a chance under the overhyped media scrutiny of the goal-line drill. The Steelers told Redman on Saturday night he'd get some carries. Obviously, after last year's troubles, Tomlin is looking for a short-yardage back.

"Yeah, I'm looking to be him," Redman said. "The more you can do – give them a reason to keep me around. I'd be the water boy if they asked me to. Whatever they need me to do."

Tomlin's public reaction?

"It's too early to tell," he said. "I'm not going to make any judgments after what I looked at today. You guys know that's not my style."

Steel City Insider Top Stories