Rashard Mendenhall expects to play for Steelers vs. Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall expects to make his season debut in Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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It would mark Mendenhall's first game action since he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the 2011 regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns.

"I've been patient and just kind of increasing what I'm able do," Mendenhall said after Wednesday's practice. "The next step would be a game, and I'm confident in doing that."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday it was a "safe assessment" that safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker James Harrison and Mendenhall would play Sunday.

Mendenhall figures to provide a spark for the Steelers' No. 31-ranked rushing attack. He ran for 1,108 yards in 2009 and 1,273 yards in 2010 before hitting 928 yards last season.

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