Tomlin: Le'Veon Bell only player ruled out for Steelers opener
September 3, 2013 4:45 PM
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin speaks to the media during his weekly press conference Tuesday at the Steelers South Side training facility.
By Ray Fittipaldo Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said today at his weekly news conference that rookie running back Le'Veon Bell is the only player who has been ruled out for the season opener against the Tennessee Titans.
Bell, who is rehabilitating a foot sprain, will not play because he won't be able to practice. Tomlin made it a point to say the practice time and not necessarily the injury is preventing Bell from playing, which indicates he is close to returning soon.
Veteran Isaac Redman will be the starting running back against the Titans, but Tomlin said veterans Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling will get a chance to play in a rotation.
In a bit of a surprise, tight end Heath Miller, the team MVP last season, was not ruled out of the game. Miller, who tore three ligaments in his right knee last December, was removed from the physically-unable to perform list on Saturday and practiced on Monday.
"We'll see how he responds," Tomlin said.
Tomlin refused to name a starting tight end and said he will use different players there throughout the game until Miller does return.
"It will be a committee-oriented group based on their skill sets," Tomlin said.
Tomlin did name a starter at right outside linebacker. Veteran Jason Worilds will start over rookie Jarvis Jones, but Jones will be part of a three-man rotation at outside linebacker. LaMarr Woodley, the starter on the other side, will come out of the game at times.
Tomlin also named his kickoff and punt returners. He said Stephens-Howling will return kick and starting receiver Antonio Brown and rookie receiver Markus Wheaton will handle the punt returns.
New punter Zoltan Mesko will also hold for snaps on field goals. Tomlin said he is not concerned about having only a few days for Mesko to work with kicker Shaun Suisham because Suisham is "low maintenance in that regard."