Pittsburgh Steelers running back Isaac Redman was a guest Monday morning on 93.7 The Fan, and he talked about his off-season; the upcoming OTA session and several other team related topics in addition.
With the Steelers drafting Michigan State running back Le\’Veon Bell in the second round last month in addition to adding free agent running back LaRod Stephens-Howling to the roster a few weeks ago, Redman was asked to give his thoughts on what those additions do to his mentality heading into the 2013 season.
“It just makes you work even harder,” said Redman, who was originally signed by the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009. “It\’s competition and it\’s been competition since I\’ve been there. I bet that nobody thought that five years ago that Isaac Redman would be the last running back on the roster from when I first got here. It\’s competition every year and every year a new guy is going to come in, and I\’m all for it.”
Redman, who battled injuries last year from training camp forward, was next asked what he thinks that he needs to how the coaches heading into the first OTA of the offseason.
“Right now, at this point in time, the way to impress the coaches is by coming back in shape,” said Redman, who made it known early in the interview that he worked down in Tampa this off-season for a month with a speed trainer. “There\’s really not too much that I can do on the field during OTA\’s to impress the coaches, because they\’ve seen basically everything that I can do.
“Right about now, you come back lighter. You don\’t come back fat and out of shape, and look like you haven\’t done anything. That\’s what I try to do. I try to come back and impress them by the way I look, and I\’ve done that.”
Inevitably, Redman was asked about the 2012 season and whether or not he saw problems in the Steelers locker room.
“No, I didn\’t see any problems; it just wasn\’t the same,” said Redman. “It\’s hard to explain, but when I first got here, it was just such a tight locker room. You had Hines (Ward). You had Aaron Smith. You had Potsie (James Farrior). You had those guys that were figures in the locker room that kind of ran it a certain type of way.
“We just did things a certain type of way. We ate breakfast in the morning on Saturdays. It\’s just a lot of the things just were changing, and a couple of guys were trying to step up and get it back to the way it was, so hopefully this year we can get things back on track.”
Redman was then asked specifically if he thought the Steelers locker room was fractured last season.
“I don\’t really want to say that it was fractured, because we were still close,” said Redman. “Everybody still had that close relationship; I just think we were taking being Steelers for granted. I say us as a whole, and we just need to get back to playing Steeler football.”
Overall, I think Redman said all the right things during his interview, and he certainly didn\’t come off as a player who thinks he is guaranteed a roster spot this year. With Rashard Mendenhall sidelined last off-season due to his knee injury, the Bowie State product was slated to be the starting running back for the Steelers heading into the 2012 season, but injuries, combined with poor performance early on, derailed him.
The Steelers restricted tendered Redman this past off-season, but that tender comes with no guarantees that he will make the 2013 final roster now that both Bell and Stephens-Howling have been added. In reality, Redman will likely be battling both Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch in training camp with the loser most likely to be sent packing
Redman, whose success has primarily centered around his ability to lower his head and run people over in the second level since coming into the league, isn\’t a fan of the new rule that hopes to prevent running backs from putting their head down when making contact with defenders attempting to tackle them.
“I don\’t even know how I\’ll be able to do it,” said Redman. “I don\’t really understand it. I guess I\’ll have to wait for the league to come in and show us film on what actually they want us to do.”
Redman had more to add to that.
“Its hard to just tell you to kind of lower your head to protect yourself. I\’ve been playing football for 22 years, so I don\’t know how I\’m just going to up and change that in one day.”
You can listen to the complete interview with Redman below: