Isaac Redman's exit was inevitable

PITTSBURGH -- The only surprise with the Pittsburgh Steelers' release of Isaac Redman is that it didn’t happen sooner.

The fourth-year running back had clearly fallen out of favor with the Steelers, and not because Redman went public with a claim that he had fooled team doctors after suffering a concussion in a Sept. 18 game at Cincinnati so he could keep playing.

Redman had simply exhausted the chances Steelers gave him to carve out a role in their backfield, which now clearly belongs to rookie Le'Veon Bell.

Redman didn’t seize the starting job last season when a knee injury sidelined former first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall for the first part of 2012. And he faltered badly when an injury that sidelined Bell gave Redman another chance to start at running back.

The Steelers made a mistake when they cut Jonathan Dwyer in late August and installed Redman as the starter with Bell still recovering from a mid-foot sprain. They corrected that error when Bell’s emergence made it clear the Steelers only needed to carry three running backs on their 53-man roster -- and they kept Dwyer over Redman.

That is not to discount Redman’s contributions to the Steelers or the value they received from a player who made the team as an undrafted free agent from Bowie State.

Redman rushed for more than 1,000 in three-plus seasons, and the 6-foot, 230-pounder ran hard if not always effectively. Redman could latch on with another team as a short-yardage back and spot starter, a role he handled with some success prior to this season.

But he had clearly become expendable in Pittsburgh, and it was only a matter of when, and not if, the Steelers would cut ties with Redman.