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Poll results: Steelers predicted tailback

The AFC North blog posed the question last week in a SportsNation poll: Who will be the Steelers' starting running back in the 2012 season opener?

The response was a slam dunk: backup Isaac Redman. Despite two career starts, Redman was the overwhelming winner to replace injured Rashard Mendenhall, receiving 79 percent of the vote.

His final impression was a strong one -- Redman ran for 121 yards in the playoff loss at Denver. He's averaged 4.5 yards per carry in his two-year career, and has scored five touchdowns. Still, he doesn't have much experience carrying the load of the Steelers' running game. In 36 career games (including playoffs), Redman has had double-digit carries in four of them.

After Redman, it was basically a three-way tie for second place. Jonathan Dwyer (8 percent) has shown flashes (107 yards rushing against the Titans last season), but he has limited experience (25 carries in eight career games).

Starting a veteran free agent (7 percent) would mean signing someone like Cedric Benson, Ryan Grant, Joseph Addai or Ronnie Brown. And going with a rookie (6 percent) would require using an early round pick on someone like Boise State's Doug Martin, Virginia Tech's David Wilson or Miami's Lamar Miller.