Mike Tomlin: Rashard Mendenhall will remain on bench


The demotion of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall did not get a lot of national attention last week with Charlie Batch's big game and all of the Ben Roethlisberger injury speculation.

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Mendenhall, a first-round pick in 2008, is buried deep enough in the doghouse to be a healthy scratch on Sundays behind running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman. Mendenhall has a 1,200-yard season under his belt. He's started a Super Bowl.

It's remarkable that he's not even playing at this stage, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made it clear that Mendenhall's role wasn't going to change this week against the San Diego Chargers.

"We don't intend on doing anything differently in terms of Jonathan (Dwyer) being the guy and of course, (Isaac Redman) supplementing him because Red is capable of distinguishing himself in situational football, short yardage. He's a good blitz-pickup guy," Tomlin said Tuesday via Steelers.com.

Mendenhall has struggled with fumbling this year. He's been benched for his work habits in the past, and it's hard not to wonder if more is going on behind the scenes with this demotion.

"Rashard will get an opportunity to redeem himself, I'm sure, at some point along this journey," Tomlin said. "That's the nature of this thing. There's ebb and flow and opportunities are presented."

In the meantime, expect Mendenhall to be presented with another gameday inactive status on Sunday.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.