Will Another Experienced Running Back Body Be Added To The Mix By Training Camp?

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Baron Batch has denied the report this morning by Ed Bouchette stating that he hasn\’t been cleared to practice as he looks to return from his torn ACL suffered late in training camp last year. Batch stated that he is not working in the camp session this weekend with the rookies and the other first year players signed this offseason because he is not required to.

When you look at the running back numbers currently on the roster, you wonder if another running back, one with more experience, could possibly be added into the mix prior to the start of training camp. There are two things that we currently know as we sit here in early May in regard to the running back position with the first being that Rashard Mendenhall will open training camp on the PUP list as he too is recovering from a torn ACL suffered during the regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns. The second thing that we know is that Isaac Redman is a lock to make the 53 man roster and will be the week one starter should Mendenhall start the season on the PUP list.

Currently behind both Mendenhall and Redman sit Batch, Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay and fifth round draft pick Chris Rainey, with only Dwyer and Clay having very limited regular season snaps of that group. Chad Spann was thought to be a player that would be on the roster by the time training camp opened, but he was released this past week. The release of Spann leaves the Steelers with just five running backs on the roster that presumably will be healthy enough to participate in camp once it is open. Dwyer ended the 2011 season on the injured reserve list with a broken foot, but he is reportedly back running again and there is no reason to believe he will not be ready by the time camp rolls around.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said during the Steelers post draft press conference that the team is still open to working free agency moving forward, and while he did not specifically single out the running back position in his remarks, he did say, “I don\’t think we\’ve laid any of these positional things to bed. What we seek of course is competition.”

While the bulk of the free agency signings around the league now passed around the, a few running backs with experience still remain unsigned. The most notable names that could likely fit in as camp competition at this point are Jackie Battle, Joseph Addai, Ronnie Brown, Justin Forsett, Ryan Grant, Thomas Jones and Jerious Norwood to name just a few. Mewelde Moore also remains out of work right now as well. If another back with experience is indeed signed, it would likely be to a one-year deal for the minimum with no guarantees attached.

The Steelers could of course just decide to add a few more undrafted types that did not latch on after the draft, or they very well could be completely comfortable opening camp with just the five healthy players already on the roster. We shall see how this plays out.

  • Lee

    If they do decide to add another RB, I’d like to see Ronnie Brown given a chance… if the price is right.

  • LouPGH

    I do think that the release of Spahn tends to suggest it is more likely that they add another guy prior to camp. And I see the benefit of adding someone with experience to the mix given the lack thereof amongst the guys currently on the roster. Since the cost will be little to nothing, it’s hard to see the downside.

    That said, none of the guys you named really inspires much in me and I hope that all of the young guys on the roster get the chance to show what they can do because I see their various skill sets as complimentary to one another.

    I’m mostly rooting for Redman to outperform expectations this year, as he has done on a consistent basis since coming into the league.

  • Flair7

    mewelde “i do nothing but perform” moore…jesus christ…this guy is the most underrated guy the Steel have had in years…sign him now!!!!!!!!!!

  • Woodleykills56

    You’re right. Moore was clutch. Wouldn’t mind seeing him back

  • Batch’s Uncle Roy

    Ryan Grant would be a +

  • Bleebo77

    Seeing the list of unsigned RBs, I’m struck by how fleeting an NFL career can be. I had no idea that folks like Ronnie Brown and Joseph Addai – high draft picks who were once featured backs – are sitting at home. It’s also odd that guys like John Clay have contracts when guys like Ryan Grant don’t. Not that clay doesn’t deserve one, but just a function of continuity and age, I guess.

  • Jprankster2005

    I would love to see Grant or Addai signed for experince…… I also thought they should of tryed to get Johnatan Stewart for a late round pick and give him a contract extension….. But if they don’t do anything Id be content with Redman,Batch,Rainey,Dwyer, If one of them have a break out yr. I don’t see Mendenhall being back……Rainey is going to surpise alot of people with his overall play…….

  • Jprankster2005

    Clay will not make the team…… Even if they don’t add another back

  • Jprankster2005

    He’s to old….. He didn’t do anything last yr.

  • mokhkw

    100% agree. Even with Mendehall healthy, I’ve considered Moore the best RB the Steelers have had in the past 3 years. With Haley probably throwing to the backs more this season, why wouldn’t they want him to return? It’s another one of the knocks I had on Arians – he never used this guy enough.

  • Jprankster2005

    Clay has no guartnee money and won’t make the team…… Grant will get a job probably with a good passing team, Patriots come to mind……. Addai and Brown there best days are behind them but may have another yr. or 2….. I would like Grant and as I stated before I would of liked to trade for Stewart of the panthers and gave him an extension……. But rainey is going to surpise alot of people and him and Redman could be the future for the next 5 to 6 yrs….. I don’t see Mendenhall back after this yr. I think they should of cut him before he was due his roster bonus…… But that’s just me…….

  • zbluez1

    Out of all the ones listed above Jerious Norwood intrigues me the most as far seeing him in the Steelers type of schemes, behind Atlanta’s O-line he was well over 5 yards a carry over a 3 year span, is 28, has a slightly stouter build, works hard in traffic as well shifty in space. His skill set would seem to fight Coach Haley’s offensive style better than some of the others. As much as I like M. Moore’s capabilities in a B.A. offensive scheme, he is over 30 and may not transition as well to what Haley likes to do.

  • Dave L

    Tim Hightower

  • mokhkw


    7.1 yards a carry and 9.4 per reception would indicate he’s still productive. He’s 29 but only averaged 60-odd carries (4.5 ypc) & 25 -odd receptions (8.8 ypr) per season. You wouldn’t ask him to carry the whole load but a Redman-Moore combo with Dwyer as a short yardage back would limit him to 15-20 touches per game where he would still be effective.

    As Flair7 says, he does nothing but perform.

  • Wdmason

    “The Creeper” He played great when he snuck into the game and nobody noticed.

  • Broderick Wallace

    I agree. He has been on the decline since 2009 season. Steelers need youth and speed. The aging veterans gotta go in today’s NFL.

  • Broderick Wallace

    Haley may want a feature back like Mendenhall albeit a healthy one. Mendy could really shine in Todd Haley offense. He can do it all. We just had a crappy offensive line/coordinator thus far in his career.

  • Broderick Wallace

    They will probably try to sneak him on the practice squad, but will likely get snatched off waiver wire.

  • Jprankster2005

    He’s not that great and there are plenty of better backs that still don’t have teams so I don’t think anyone will snatch him up…… He’s a big bruiser and I just don’t see the future of the RB being that….. The leauge has changed and players like Rainey and batch fit what RB are these days….. Clay about 10 yrs. ago would of been a back that alot of teams would of loved to have, But these days they want faster RB’s and one’s that can catch…… Bettis would not be a Hall of Famer if he started his career now…….. The Defensive players are getting bigger and Faster….

  • PghPaul

    Just to throw out a name how about Tim Hightower who played for Haley in Arizona?

  • Putter

    What’s the status of Ced Benson?

  • JohnnyV1

    I certainly could see them bring in another RB. Mewelde Moore certainly has been a trusted guy over the last several years. CB is another spot that could use a veteran, IMHO.

  • Bsadler177

    Seen Rainey play high school ball as well as college .He is flatt out fast he will be special teams and possibly third down back with some screens .But more to kick offs and punt returns .