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Rashard Mendenhall Not Ruling Out A Return Early In The Season

Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall suffered a torn ACL at the end of last season, which not only had an impact on the team’s playoff performance, but it also seemed likely that he could end up missing a portion of the 2012 season as well.

Mendenhall, however, isn’t ready to rule out being ready for the Steelers opening game on September 9th.

There’s always the possibility,” Mendenhall said, via Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’ll be back at some point. It’s just a matter of what point that is.”

Mendenhall’s knee is still sore and swells up from time to time, but the good news was that he was able to do some running and cutting during the team’s OTAs. While I’m sure he’s making progress, it’s hard to imagine him being ready at that point in the season. Issac Redman will fill in for him while he’s out.

Another issue surrounding Mendenhall, is the fact that he’s entering the final year of his rookie contract. Even if he had not torn up his knee last season, there’s a good chance that he would find limited interest on the open market. Guys like Matt Forte are fighting to get a decent contract signed, so it’s going to be even harder on someone like Mendenhall, who is coming off of a serious injury.