Tiki Barber, Reggie Bush, who's next for the Steelers?
It must be the offseason, that's all I can say. A couple months ago the rumors starting flying that the Steelers were interested in Tiki Barber and Reggie Bush. They seemed to have resurfaced now in the midst of this lockout filled offseason. Who's next, is Barry Sanders going to come out of retirement and somehow be linked to the Mike Tomlin's team?
Last time I checked the Steelers had a pretty good stable backs behind Ben Roethlisberger. Feature back Rashard Mendenhall carried the rock 324 times in 2010 for 1,273 yds. and 13 Touchdowns. Short yardage specialist Isaac Redman rushed 53 times for 247 yds. Finally veteran 3rd down specialist Mewelde "Memo" Moore had 33 carries for 99 yds. Obviously those stats are pretty one sided in favor of the workhorse, Mendenhall, but don't underestimate the potential of Isaac Redman. He is more than capable of filling in for Rashard more than Tomlin and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians let him. I can understand Tomlin wanting to have Mendenhall into the flow of the game and giving him the chance to finish off the drives that he worked so hard on, when they reach the Heinz Redzone. In the 2 years that #34 has really gotten to play (rookie year was a wash due to an injured shoulder), he's proven he can handle the load. We can dive into the lopsided carries another time, and we will.
So why all this talk about Reggie Bush and Tiki Barber? It's not like Pittsburgh actually needs a back right now, however the prospect of Reggie Bush is much more appealing than seeing the former Today Show cohost come out of retirement. Bush could help the Steelers by giving them one of the best open field runners in the game and an explosive punt returner capable of taking it to the endzone at anytime. His price tag though would have to come down pretty significantly before the the Rooney's would seriously consider bringing him in for a look. There is no way the Steelers are are going to pay Bush anywhere near the 11.8 million he's due to make in 2011 (and neither is New Orleans for that matter). There's always somebody willing to overpay an athlete in the NFL but in this case with Bush coming off a season where he only played in 8 games due to injury, it's highly doubtful he'll get the money he wants.
As far as Tiki Barber goes, honestly there's just no way the black 'n gold should even consider this move. Barber hasn't played since 2006, and given the fact he wants to be a significant part of the offense if the rumors are true, I just don't see it happening. You can't justify bringing in a guy that hasn't played in 4 years and take carries away from your established players who are more than capable of carrying the load. You can't argue with Barbers production during his career though. In 2006 he rushed for 1,662 yds, and in 2005 he had 1,860 yds. In fact, in 2004 & 2005 he had a combined 4,486 combined yards from scrimmage. An incredible feat to say the least. His time has come and gone though, why not just ride off into the sunset, enjoy your retirement, and your great career. Yes, Tomlin does have ties to the Barber family but it's not going to be enough to see him make his way to western Pennsylvania.
Either way the Steelers have a great setup right now, and when you factor in 2011 draft pick Baron Batch as a potential 3rd down candidate, the ground game could be better than ever in 2011. I can't say I'd be disappointed to see Reggie Bush in a Steeler uniform though.