RB Mendenhall ready to return for Steelers
"Good thing I'm not the offensive coordinator," Mendenhall said with a smile. "For us, our focus is winning first and foremost, and we want to do well as an offense with whatever helps us to do that. It's a long season, and we're going to need everybody."
Dwyer and Redman have been steadfast in maintaining that, when healthy, Mendenhall — a 2008 first-round pick — is the first-team back. A free agent after the season, Mendenhall said he feels 100 percent healthy.
"I wouldn't step out there if that wasn't the case," he said. "I feel good with where I'm at."
With quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out with his shoulder and rib injuries, Pittsburgh will lean on the run game against a Ravens defense that ranks 26th in the league in rushing yards allowed. Pittsburgh's Byron Leftwich is making his first NFL start at quarterback in more than three years.
"If (yardage) comes in chunks, if it comes in dink-and-dunk, it doesn't matter," Leftwich said. "We don't care. We're just trying to win the football game. "We all understand the importance of this football game. Let's not try to act like it ain't. This is an important football game for both teams."
Roethlisberger isn't the only prominent Steelers player ruled out of Sunday's game. Receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) will miss his second consecutive game, All Pro safety Troy Polamalu has played only once since the season opener because of a calf injury and starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) has missed four straight games.
Free safety Ryan Clark is probable to play six days after sustaining his second concussion in a 16-day span against the Chiefs.
"Nothing is wrong," Clark said on Friday. "No sensitivity to light, no headaches, no extra fatigue and no problems sleeping. Everything is fine. I'm good to go and excited to be out there on Sunday."
Also probable for the Steelers are defensive end Brett Keisel, cornerback Ike Taylor, left tackle Max Starks and cornerback Curtis Brown.
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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