By Christina Rivers
Although rookie running back Le’Veon Bell has been taken out of the walking boot that was protecting his injured foot and tight end Heath Miller was removed from the PUP list this week, neither will play for the Pittsburgh Steelers when they host the Tennessee Titans during their home opener on Sunday, Sept. 8. Fans are anxious to see both players actively involved in the 2013 NFL season, but Miller, the Steelers MVP in 2012, is still recovering from a surgically-repaired ACL/MCL injury and has not been given a timetable for return to play. A return date on Bell is not available either.
With two such important players injured, the Steelers will most likely take a easy-does-it approach to putting Bell or Miller into live action too soon.
When asked about Heath Miller, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, “[Miller] is the best tight end in the game. So, not only is he a comfort blanket for me, he opens up the outside receivers because he requires so much attention from linebackers and safeties down the middle of the field, and short passes, underneath stuff. We’ll definitely miss him and hope and wish him a speedy recovery.”
In place of Miller, the Steelers will likely rotate David Johnson and David Paulson at the tight end position.
As for the running back situation, Roethlisberger said that he was “excited” to see Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling in Pittsburgh.
“I know what Isaac Redman brings to the table because he’s been here,” said Roethlisberger. “He’s a good back for us. I’m just excited to see what happens on Sunday with everybody out there.”
Redman was given the starting position at running back earlier this week by coach Mike Tomlin.
“I want to prove I am a starting running back in this league,” said Redman. “I have been working hard even though I only had two carries in a (preseason) game. I have been practicing, I just haven’t been playing. I want to prove I worked hard all summer and that I am a starting running back.”
Rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones saw limited playing time in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but is expected to garner playing time on Sunday. Jones had a minor chest injury during the final days of preseason, but has the confidence of Tomlin, who said, “It’s expected [Jarvis Jones] will play a lot.”
Jones isn’t simply coasting into a starting position. “Sunday is for all the marbles,” said Jones. “The W’s count. We are going to come out there and execute, make plays and take advantage of our opportunities.”
Fullback Will Johnson has been suffering from a sore hamstring and saw limited practice Wednesday and Thursday. Whether the Steelers will opt to move David Johnson to that position on Sunday comes down to whether they think David Paulson should get the start at tight end and whether or not Will Johnson will be ready to carry the load.
Overall, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking healthy entering their first regular season game of the 2013 NFL Season.
For more news and updates, visit Steelers Central.
Christina Rivers has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League professionally as a reporter and photographer for over a decade. Rivers studied exercise physiology and sports psychology at Brigham Young University as a student-athlete. Christina is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. Her work can be found on