Not many of us thought that Mendenhall would even be able to take the field in practice yet, let alone work in full pads with the rest of the team so early. He deserves nothing but respect for how quickly he's been able to get back from his ACL surgery. For that many, Starks and Hampton do as well.

If you read the excerpt below, it talks about how Mendy was in practice today, minus the red jersey and teammates were in impressed. Tomlin didn't rule him out of the Denver game, but also said that between Dwyer and Redman it would likely come down to how Redman's ankle holds up this week.

I personally agree with Bouchette that it's a smokescreen but you never know.

It wasn't long ago that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall was viewed as a shoe-in to start the regular season on the outside looking in. General manager Kevin Colbert talked openly about Mendenhall landing on the reserve/PUP list for the first six weeks of the season following anterior cruciate ligament surgery just eight months ago.

"He looked incredible," Brett Keisel told Jim Wexell of

"I thought he looked great," said Lawrence Timmons. "He was running well, finishing runs. I'm excited for him."

Coach Mike Tomlin is even toying with the idea of starting Mendenhall over Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer in Sunday night's season opener against the Denver Broncos, according to the site.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette told WTZN-FM that he doesn't expect Mendenhall to play and called his return to practice nothing more than Tomlin pulling levers to get the Broncos "thinking a little bit."